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.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (10)
  1. Michael S. says:

    If that were my daughter, this man would become part of our family, a truly cherished soul. The race track should very prominently honor him.

    Let’s hope his selflessness creates an ever-expanding circle of kindness.

    Bravo, John Shear.

  2. OWLET says:

    Why wasn’t the child with her parents? John is a hero and the parents need to watch their child more carefully. John is indeed a hero.

    1. greg says:

      she was, her dad was right next to her as was John, I don’t know why dad didn’t grab her or jump in front of her

  3. Rafael says:

    What physical and mental reflexes, it is obvious this man at 90 years of age has all his wits in the right place, I can only hope that god willing I can also have these same attributes, should I live to be 90yo, god bless you some more John.

  4. ROOSTER says:

    Ah, a former jockey. They may be small, but they are TOUGH!

  5. Jeff Zimmer says:

    This shows that people who reach a certain age, are not necessarily washed up.

  6. Rudysolis says:

    this are the kind of news that make your day…

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