Peter Lurie grew up in the Los Angeles area, and it is no coincidence that he is now involved in the horse racing and television industries. His job as a Universal Studios tour guide segued into various voice over and acting works in commercials, television shows, anime movies and video games. He has been visiting Los Angeles area racetracks since age 4. His first memory of racing is Johnny Longden’s final ride in the 1966 San Juan Capistrano, a win on George Royal. Since then he has dabbled in being a jockey agent and horse owner, and is currently a host on HorseRacing TV (HRTV).
Diving into a new job, Lurie is going to host Fairplex Park’s in-house television broadcast at the upcoming meet.
“I have been a huge fan of Fairplex since I was a small child. I think the first time I went to Fairplex I must have been about 10-years-old...There’s always just been something about it that I absolutely love...as a horseplayer, as an owner, as a fan of racing.”
For his television broadcasts, Lurie says, “I try to, first off, handicap the race as close as I can. I try to get as much information as I can on the trainers and riders, especially if it’s a trainer or rider we’re not familiar with in southern California. I am hoping to give the patrons who will be watching the [inter-track feed] as much information as possible.”
As a handicapper, Lurie has his own unique angles he may convey to viewers. On the synthetic to dirt switch, he believes that “the first couple of days might be off kilter.” He also believes that a horse with good early speed has an advantage. Jockeys make their move earlier than at larger tracks because of the short stretch. “Many times, horses who normally won’t go the whole way down the stretch, sometimes they find themselves in front, and by the time they realize they’re in front they hit the wire.” Fairplex Park’s tight, banked turns are more like a turf course, and may also play to turf runners. Most importantly, he says that one of the best things one can do is know the tendencies of horses, riders, and trainers, especially those that may not have much success during the rest of the year but excel at Fairplex.
Lurie discovered some tendencies of trainers in his time spent as a jockey agent. He worked in that occupation for seven months after falling into it by accident. While on a strike as part of the Screen Actors Guild, he was approached by a jockey who knew him as an owner and asked if he was interested in being an agent. He thought, “Oh, what the heck, I’ll give it a shot.” Though it was only a “cup of coffee,” he feels it was one of the greatest experiences he’s ever had.
As a horse owner, Lurie experienced his most memorable moment at Fairplex Park. Frank The Barber, a horse he co-owns, won the 2007 Pomona Derby in a downpour of rain, “They always tell you that when you go down there to the winners circle, you shouldn’t go down if you see the inquiry sign. We didn’t see the inquiry sign until we were already in there. Everyone was pretty nervous, like maybe we broke the cardinal rule in racing.” A short inquiry period followed, about as short as it gets, and Frank The Barber was left in the number-one spot.
On acting, Lurie says that you need very thick skin, saying, “You have to be the best person or the best actor you can be and just hope that the cards play in your favor.” The similarity he finds between acting and agenting is that “not everybody is going to agree with you. Not everybody is going to respect your opinion. Not everybody is going to think you’re doing a good job. All you can really do is be prepared, have fun...and be yourself.”
If Lurie does that, he should excel at hosting Fairplex Park’s television handicapping show. The 2008 meet will be Lurie’s first year on the job, but along with his extensive television and horse racing experience, he should be a perfect fit.