PASADENA (CBS) – A 90-year-old paddock guard at Santa Anita Race Track was released Saturday from Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena after he put himself between a young girl and a horse on March 12 that broke loose before a race, injuring himself and leaving the girl unharmed.
Former jockey, John Shear said he was standing at his usual spot as the 3-year-old gelding named See and Sage broke free from his handler in the track’s walking ring and ran toward an opening that was guarded by him.
“The next thing I heard was `Loose horse! Loose horse!”‘ Shear told KCAL. “Everybody scattered. They scattered like crazy except the little girl. She stood right beside me. And so I could see the horse was about 20 feet from me and heading right towards us.”
“At the time, there was a 9-year-old girl who was leaning forward. John, who works the paddock area, jumped in front of the girl. The horse came full speed and the horse’s shoulder hit John’s head,” witness Aaron Hesz said.
Shear was conscious and responsive when take to the hospital, the statement said. His exact injuries were unclear.
“People who come to the racetrack regularly know who John Shear is and John’s a really good man, he’s loves this sport,” he added.
The girl was uninjured, but appeared to be distraught after the incident.
“She was pretty traumatized after the incident. She was crying and I think she knew that John helped save her life,” Hesz said.
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