ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 17, 2015)–Surrounded by a group of jockeys and fellow employees and looking like a man 30 years his junior, Santa Anita Paddock Captain John Shear celebrated his 94th birthday in a Winner’s Circle ceremony between races on Saturday at Santa Anita.
Employed at The Great Race Place in various roles for more than five decades, Shear struck his customary optimistic tone when asked to reflect on his life and years spent at Santa Anita.
“I love working here every day,” he said. “When I get to see lovely people at the track every day, it makes it all worth it.”
A native of England who aspired to be a jockey, Shear gained national recognition for an act of heroism on March 12, 2011 when he reacted instinctively to a loose horse in the paddock by throwing himself between the fleeting animal and a 5-year-old girl.
When asked earlier today to describe how it felt to be 94 years of age, he responded, “Well, I certainly don’t mind.”