03/12/2011 8:19PM

Ninety-year-old Santa Anita paddock guard injured in accident


ARCADIA, Calif. - John Shear, a popular paddock guard at Santa Anita who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, was taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital in nearby Pasadena after a freak incident in the paddock before the third race in which Shear protected a small girl who was in danger of being trampled by a loose horse.

Shear, known as “Little John,” was reported by track officials to be conscious, responsive, and moving when attended by on-site first aid. He was taken to the hospital for further evaluation.

Shear dived in front of a small girl when the maiden-claimer Sea and Sage, who was about to leave the paddock for the post parade, reared, dislodged jockey Alonzo Quinonez, and then ran near full speed across the width of the paddock to the spot where Shear was stationed.

Shear ran in front of the horse and threw himself in front and on top of the child. Sea and Sage collided with Shear, but the girl was unharmed.

Sea and Sage ran all the way to the stable area, where he was caught, apparently uninjured.
The entire incident was seen live on the track’s simulcast wagering feed.