Blazin Wildfire (12/2007-1/2015)
“You realize you have a world class dog there, don’t you?”
I think that was one of the first things I ever mentioned to Judi Boulton, after I had seen a video of her black dog blasting around the 685 yard course at the track in Phoenix.
Every now and then, you see a greyhound in motion, who has an uncommon way of covering ground, that is so fluent and sublime, you immediately understand you have just witnessed something very special.
Blazin Wildfire was just such a special greyhound. A black son of the super-sprinter Dragon Fire---himself a son of the legendary and incomparable Australian, Brett Lee---out of the staying bitch, Tin Nee Ann, by the indomitable Dominator. He was bred and painstakingly raised by Judi, to be exactly who he appeared to be on the racetrack--a laser-quick, fearless, gut-wrenchingly game, tenacious, comet-swift, take-no-prisoners competitor.
It’s always hard to bestow superlatives upon an individual, in a sport where there is a near century of historic and legendary performers to draw upon, and I never placed a hand on Blazin Wildfire, whose career was a little bit star-crossed, anyway. But giving it the eyeball test, I can say for certain, I never saw any greyhound who had any more of every desirable characteristic you could ask for in one. And that’s saying a mouthful.
This morning, Judi found Blazin Wildfire in a field on their property, where he lived in his youth and again now, in retirement--in his eternal vigilance for game to chase. He had passed away, inexplicably, without a mark on him.
Sometimes, we receive blessings we never expected, and sometimes, just as unexpectedly, they are taken away from us. And who can say why?
I know that Judi, in spite of the loss of her great greyhound, realizes that some people can spend a lifetime in greyhound racing, working their fingers to nubs and their feet to stumps, and never have a dog like Blazin Wildfire. She was gifted with him in her very first litter as a breeder of greyhounds.
In a sport where there are always far more heartbreaks than there are glorious moments of triumph. I will never forget some of hers, which she was gracious enough to share with any of us who wanted to come along for the ride. To see her big, black, whirlwind of a greyhound, scorch the sand, never failing to leave every beat of his huge, boundless heart, right there on the golden rail, every time he ran.
Rest in peace, “Tater”.