Santa Anita paddock guard shows continued improvement

The Santa Anita publicity office released an updated report on the condition of paddock guard John Shear this morning. Shear heroically saved a young girl from possible injuries last weekend when a horse broke free from his handler:

Santa Anita paddock guard John Shear, a Santa Anita employee for nearly half a century, continues to make progress after he suffered multiple injuries following an act of heroism at Santa Anita on March 13.

The 90-year-old Shear was injured while shielding a 5-year-old girl from a runaway loose horse prior to Santa Anita’s third race. Shear has been employed at Santa Anita since Dec. 23, 1961.

“He’s been taken off the critical list and was taken out of intensive care this morning,” said long-time Shear friend Gail McNeal, who recently retired from Santa Anita after 33 years. She operated the press box elevator since 1980 until her retirement, thus earning the nickname, “Elevator Gail.”

“I saw him yesterday at Huntington Memorial Hospital,” McNeal continued. “His spirits are good; he’s chatty and positive and wants to get well and get out of there. He wants to go home to his wife (Diane) in Sierra Madre. After that, we’re talking about taking another one of our trips to Las Vegas.”

Shear’s act of selfless heroism has created national interest.

“I’m completely blown away and humbled by the response from fans at the track and from those on all the social media sites,” Shear’s 44-year-old son, Mike, told the Santa Anita Publicity Department earlier. “It’s amazing how many people who don’t even know my dad have expressed their well wishes.”

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