USA: After 60 years’ working at Santa Anita where he became a fixture as the track’s paddock captain, John Shear has announced his retirement – aged 100.
Breaking the news on Twitter, he wrote: “It’s official: I have retired from work.
“For 60 years, I worked all the Southern California racetracks, met many incredible people, and saw the best horses,” he said.
“It has been a career I look back [on] with great pride and wonderful memories. I’m in great health and will visit SA as a fan.”
Shear was born in England, where he was raised as an orphan and briefly rode as an apprentice. He arrived at Santa Anita via Canada in 1954 to work at first as an exercise boy.
He never left the ‘Great Race Place’ and since he was first employed by the track in 1961 he has given unstinting service, famously going above and beyond in 2012 when he almost certainly saved the life of a five-year-old girl.
Shear, who stands at only 4ft 11ins tall, came to national attention when he threw himself in front of a loose horse that was heading towards the child near the walking ring.
Then aged 91, he suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis, hip, back and cheekbone, along with internal bleeding that resulted in a significant loss of blood. His injuries did not stop him returning to work after a year-long recovery.