Veteran Santa Anita Paddock Guard John Shear was injured Saturday as he threw himself in front of a young girl in order to protect her from a loose horse, prior to the running of the 3RD race.
Shear, a former jockey who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, has been a fixture at Santa Anita for decades. Prior to the incident, he was in his normal position holding the rope on the west entrance of the track’s walking ring.
Sea and Sage (Sea of Secrets), a three-year-old gelding who had started twice previously at the current meet, was in the walking ring with nine other horses who were readying for the upcoming race. Sea and Sage wheeled, freeing himself from his handler and in a 180-degree about-face, sprinted toward the opening Shear was guarding just outside the walking ring.
As seen live on simulcast television, Shear, instead of dropping the perimeter rope he was holding and protecting himself, ran in front of the loose horse and threw himself in front of and on top of the young girl in the crowd, who appeared to be three or four years of age.
Sea and Sage collided with Shear, who remained conscious, responsive and was moving when he was attended to by on-site First Aid personnel and later by members of the City of Arcadia Fire Department.
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