September 4, 1998

Bullfight World...
by Lyn Sherwood

The Lady is a Bullfighter

Raquel Martinez cut two ears in the Aug. 15 festival in Plaza Monumental de Tijuana.

Raquél Martinez no longer dreams of revolutionizing La Fiesta Brava. Those dreams have been made impotent by the politics of bullfighting. The blonde Mexican/American matadora from Tijuana, who received her alternativa in 1981, has performed with hundreds of bulls, throughout Mexico and South America. She has faced bulls so large and dangerous, most male toreros wouldn't want to dream of them in their worst nightmares.

In her first year as a matadora, Raquél cut 29 ears and a tail. Now, after more than two decades on the circuit, she has proven herself capable of competing with men. But, the politics will not be denied. As her talents have grown, the prejudice against distaff bullfighters has continued, unabated. In spite of her talents, most matadores refuse to perform on cards with her. When she does get an opportunity, the taurine media comment more on her shapely figure and charismatic personality than on her cape, muleta, and sword work.

Now, she is at the end of her career, and she dreams of leaving the rings as do most of her male counterparts, with a formal farewell tour. She wants to retire first in Tijuana, where she received her alternativa, and next in La Plaza Mexico, where she can confirm her alternativa with his first bull, and cut the coleta with her second.

Does she have a chance? Perhaps, a slim one. Those who can make the difference, who can help her realize her final wish, are the aficionados, who can apply enough pressure on the powers in control to make them sit up and take notice.

Those who care enough should direct their letters to: Manolo Arruza, Asociación Nacional de Matadores de Toros, Atlanta No. 133, Colonia Napoles, Mexico, D.F., with copies to: C.P. Luis Enrique Barro Velasquez, Espectáculos Taurinos de Mexico, S.A. Paseo de La Reforma, No. 144, Edificio Anexo 6 Piso Col. Juarez, Mexico 06600, D.F.


Ochoa and Castañeda Cope With Tough Bulls

A though herd of bulls from Cerro Viejo presented dangerous problems last Sunday, for matadores Fernando Ochoa, Paco Gonzalez, and César Castañeda. Only one ear was cut, and it wasn't really deserved, buy the afternoon saw some hard-nosed toreo by Ochoa and Castañeda, while Gonzales failed to impress.

Ochoa gave the proper lídia to both of this bulls, hearing applause for his efforts to his first. With his second animal, Ochoa opened with a cape lance of his invention, La Michoacana, which is so complicated, it's difficult to describe. He then gave one of the most gut-wrenching, in-your-face faenas that this reporter has ever seen. The bull was defensive and manso, but Ochoa was magnificent. After encountering troubles with the sword, he was granted a well-deserved vuelta.

Making his Tijuana debut, Paco Gonzalez looked like a torero. He profiled like a torero. But, he didn't torear like a torero. His cape work was boring. Faulty wrist action with the muleta failed to give his bulls a proper salida (exit). And, he held the sword so high, he seemed to be attempting to kill with his . He heard one aviso with his second bull.

César Castañeda, likewise, received difficult animals, but he performed exceptionally well with them. He also demonstrated that he is becoming a fine swordman.

With his first bull, he gave a proper lídia that had moments to recommend it. But, the ear that was cut had to be for a great sword placement. He shined with his second bull, another bastard, and killed with another great sword. Vuelta.

This coming Sunday, suspiciously following up on the previous Sunday's dispute between Antonio Urrutia and Enrique Garza, will be a mano-a-mano between the two matadores. The bulls will be from the Armillita brothers.

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