03/13/2011 7:28PM

Santa Anita paddock guard John Shear shows signs of improvement

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BENOIT PHOTO
John Shear, 90, expects to return to work at Santa Anita this fall.

ARCADIA, Calif. - John Shear, the popular paddock guard seriously injured on Saturday when hit by a loose horse while heroically protecting a small girl, will remain in a local hospital for perhaps as many as two weeks, but has not had surgery, a prospect that seemed likely on Saturday night.

Shear, a spry 90-year-old former jockey, has fractures around his pelvis and face, but doctors apparently are hoping the fractures can heal without need to perform surgery on Shear, according to Dick Honaker, the director of security and operations at Santa Anita.

Honaker on Sunday afternoon said there was fear Shear had internal bleeding on Saturday night, because his blood pressure was dropping, but that appeared to be alleviating by Sunday morning.

Shear is a well-known figure at Santa Anita, and the incident on Saturday shook up many here, both fans and management alike. He was hit when a horse got loose, then charged full bore the width of the paddock toward the child, who was with her family in the paddock.