Santa Anita Park employee turns 95; celebrated for infectious attitude

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A special 95th birthday celebration at Santa Anita park is expected on Sunday for John Shear, who race track regulars call "royalty." (KABC)

A special 95th birthday celebration at Santa Anita park is expected on Sunday for John Shear, who race track regulars call "royalty."

Fans who go to the track on a regular basis may not know who all the horses are, but they know who Shear is.

We should all be so lucky to still be working at age 95. In a sport known for long-shots, Shear defied odd's to be here.

"I remember my boss...went over to go see him at Huntington Memorial and he said, 'get an obit ready cause I really don't know if John is going to make it,'" said Mike Willman, director of publicity for Santa Anita Park.

It was nearly five years ago, Shear, at age 90, saved a 4-year-old from getting hit by a run-away horse.

"He reacted as a young man would in a very selfless fashion," Willman said.

Shear, who does 60 pushups a day, credits his physical health for surviving a ruptured spleen, multiple broken bones and over a month's stay in the hospital.

Originally from London, the 94-year-old said he had to grow up early being raised in an orphanage.

He stands just 4 feet 10 inches tall, but you won't find a bigger heart.

While fans watch the horses around the paddock, Shear's infectious personality tends to attract a lot of people, including celebrities.

He once told Queen Elizabeth she was getting too close - to the horses.

Five decades later, Shear has continued to run strong.

Shear got his start working at race tracks in England before moving to California and working at Santa Anita Park.

Related Topics:
societybirthdayhorsesArcadiaLos Angeles County
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