Santa Anita paddock guard saves young girl

John Shear, a former jockey who recently turned 90 and has been a paddock guard for years at Santa Anita, saved a young girl from potentially serious injuries when he threw himself in front of her to protect her from a loose horse Saturday.

Sea and Sage, a 3-year-old maiden trained by Gary Mandella, was in the walking ring before the third race when he freed himself from his handler and, in a 180-degree about-face, sprinted toward the opening Shear was guarding.

Shear ran in front of Sea and Sage and threw himself in front of and on top of the young girl, who appeared to be 3 or 4.

Sea and Sage collided with Shear, who remained conscious and responsive and was moving when he was transported by ambulance to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena for further evaluation.

The horse was uninjured, was caught in the Santa Anita barn area and returned to his stall in Mandella’s barn.

5 thoughts on “Santa Anita paddock guard saves young girl

  1. “Santa Anita paddock guard saves young girl”
    This is not meant to criticize Mr Shear but rather his employer, Santa Anita. If this is indeed part of his job responsibilities, then shouldn’t this job be filled by a younger, more nimble man? There are plenty of positions at Santa Anita that do not require the physical skills inherent in protecting toddlers.

  2. @John – He sounds pretty nimble as he was able to get himself between the horse and the girl. A Paddock Guard keeps people out of the paddock and the horse path – they’re not supposed to control horses.

  3. Mr Shear did a courageous and brave thing, knowing most certainly he would be hurt in the process. He’s had that job for decades, he knows what he’s doing. A ‘younger more nimble man’ might not have been horseman enough to have done the right thing at the right time. His job is NOT to protect toddlers. Where were the parents, by the way? Yes, that he indeed got himself between the horse and the child certainly proves that his age had nothing to do with it. Anybody getting mowed down by a galloping horse or even a horse just moving quickly is not going to be totally unscathed. If Mr Shear isn’t complaining, should you be judging?

  4. John Shear’s job is to check ID at the saddling paddock. Not to protect kids. He is the perfect choice for this position since he has been at the track most of his life. He knows everyone and seldom needs to officially check their ID upon entry. This allows authorized personnel to enter the saddling paddock quickly and not have a stressful traffic jam. You can not hire any random person off the street for this position. Our society is hellbent on keeping children locked in a car seat in the back seat of a car by themselves and then they let their kids run loose in crowds. I raised two children and they were on a leash ALWAYS in public. Parents need to take responsibility for the own children. I do not feel like it is the responsibility of any business to have staff who’s job description is to protect children. As a parent, if you do not feel like you can safely control your kids, then please, by all means, STAY

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