09/02/2011 12:30PM

Santa Anita to honor ‘hero’ paddock guard Shear with race

Benoit & Associates
Santa Anita paddock guard John Shear was injured after he threw himself in front of a loose horse to protect a young girl.

John Shear, the popular 90-year-old paddock guard who bravely threw himself in front of a loose horse to protect a small girl at Santa Anita earlier this year, will be honored by Santa Anita on Oct. 1 with a race named in his honor.

Appropriately called the “John Shear Hero Purse,” the race will include a winner’s circle ceremony in which Shear will be recognized for his actions in the March 12 incident. Shear also will be profiled this Sunday night on HRTV’s “Inside Information” show, which airs at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. The profile will include video of the incident.

“John is a one-in-million-type of person and he’s made an amazing recovery from what could have been a catastrophic accident,” George Haines, president of Santa Anita, said in a press release. “This was a truly amazing act of heroism, and he never thought twice about it – he just reacted instinctively to protect the little girl.”

Shear suffered several injuries in the incident, including a fractured pelvis, and he lost a considerable amount of blood due to internal bleeding.

His son, Michael, has attributed his father’s speedy recovery to diet and a vigorous lifestyle.

“My dad has always prided himself on eating well and staying physically fit, and there’s no doubt this has helped him immensely,” he said.
Shear has worked at Santa Anita since December 1961.