ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 2, 2011)—Santa Anita Park will pay tribute to its heroic 90-year-old Paddock Guard John Shear on Saturday, Oct. 1, as the Great Race Place will name a designated race “The John Shear Hero Purse.” The race will include a winner’s circle ceremony in which Shear will be recognized for his selfless act of heroism earlier this year on March 12, when he shielded a 6-year-old girl from a runaway horse prior to the third race just outside of Santa Anita’s walking ring.

“This is going to be a very proud moment for all of us here at Santa Anita,” said George Haines, Santa Anita President. “John is a one in a million type of person and he’s made an amazing recovery from what could have been a catastrophic accident. This was a truly amazing act of heroism and he never thought twice about it—he just reacted instinctively to protect the little girl.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming John back along with his wife Diane, their son Michael and a group of their friends. I know all of our employees and many of our fans are anxious to see John and to wish him well. It should be a special day.”

Shear, who was taken by ambulance to Huntington Memorial Hospital immediately following the accident, sustained several injuries, including a fractured pelvis and he lost a considerable amount of blood due to internal bleeding.

Michael Shear has attributed his father’s speedy recovery to diet and a vigorous lifestyle. “My dad has always prided himself on eating well and staying physically fit and there’s no doubt this has helped him immensely.”

Employed seasonally at Santa Anita since Dec. 23, 1961, Shear is a native of England and is a former rider and trainer.

In addition to the Shear tribute, some great racing is also on tap Oct. 1, as it is Breeders’ Cup Challenge Day at Santa Anita, with four Grade I stakes highlighting an 11-race card.

First post time on Oct. 1 is 1:00 p.m.. Admission Gates will open at 11:00 a.m. For more information on Breeders’ Cup Challenge Day, fans are encouraged to visit, or to call (626) 574-RACE.