August 14, 1998

Bullfight World...
by Lyn Sherwood

Hail, Cesar!

Mexico's newest matador, Tijuanense César Castañeda salvaged an otherwise dreary afternoon, last Sunday in Plaza Monumental de Tijuana. Performing in only his first corrida since taking his alternativa, Castañeda won the only ears of the day, following two electrifying lídias.

The weather was suffocating in humidity as a disappointing herd of bulls from Francisco (Curro) Rivera was run for Guillermo Capetillo, Rafaél Ortega and Castañeda. The bulls, mostly cárdenos were well-built, but lacking in strength. Most received only one, light pic, and presented great difficulties in the third acts.

Capetillo appeared to have been far out of training, as he worked poorly with cape, muleta, and sword. He was soundly boo'ed after each of his performances, and heard additional insults as he exited the plaza. It was his poorest presentation in recent years.

Rafaél Ortega bombed with his first bull, offering only token efforts with cape, banderillas, and sword. With his second, he was much better, giving decent opening cape lances, placing banderillas in good style, and killing with a rather low sword placement. Although there was petition for an ear, the judge did not grant it, and Ortega settled for a turn of the ring.

Castañeda met his first bull with good Verónicas, and placed banderillas in excellent style. His faena was very good, although concentrated almost exclusively on the right hand side. He tried to work on the left, but found nothing. His sword placement was slightly low, but the crowd petition was strong, and he was awarded two ears for a faena that was worthy of only one.

Any competent matador can triumph with a good bull. But, he who can take the lídia to a bad bull is a genuine torero. And, César Castañeda is a genuine torero.

His second bull, the last of the day, weighed 535 kilos, but was extremely low on strength and offered only a half-charge. Perhaps, when Castañeda has been around a few more years, he will simply write off such a dangerous creature and not even attempt a faena. But, when you're a new matador, you must triumph with every bull. And, thus, César looked upon it as an opportunity not to be missed.

After opening with some splendid Verónicas and the climaxing media Véronica, he gave it a faena that was not only correct, but totally remarkable. He dominated in outstanding fashion and topped the performance with a perfect sword placement. This was the most worthy lídia of the afternoon, and the crowd rewarded the matador with a well-earned ear.

North American Matador David "El Texano" Renk will perform with Pepe López, Raquél Martinez, and Bruce Hutton, in a free-admission festival Saturday, at 5 p.m., in Plaza Monumental de Tijuana. Renk is the only yankee matador to confirm his alternativa in La Plaza Mexico.


A potentially excellent card is on tap, this Sunday, in the Beautiful Bullring by The Sea. A herd from the usually dependable Yturbe Hermanos will be presented to Maurício Portillo, Mario del Olmo, and Fernando Ochoa. This on promises to be an excellent afternoon.

On Saturday, at 5 p.m., a festival, with free admission, will be celebrated. Three matadores and on aficionado práctico will face four animals from the Limón ranch. Facing them will be Pepe López, American Matador David "El Texano" Renk, Raquél Martinez, and Bruce Hutton. This reporter will perform as sobresaliente.

Those who would like to attend a corrida, but don't look forward to driving into Mexico, have the opportunity to join other aficionados in a Bullfight Fiesta Package, presented to Travel Care Free Mexico, in Bonita. The tour is operated by aficionado prático Pete Rombold. Among the highlights are bus transportation, a wine tasting, at Cetto Winery, shopping downtown, and reserved seats at the corrida. The price is $74.95, plus tax. Those interested should call (619)475-1234 or (619) 475-9563.


Return to current page