Horse owner HORATIO KEMENY has attracted a large following on his Facebook page in recent weeks for his informative, easy-to-read graph and notes each evening tracking the path of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Horatio, a computer science and tech expert, entrepreneur, film maker and horse racing lover, co-owns British Columbia’s leading stable Swift Thoroughbreds, founded with friend Mark Mache. Their horses race throughout North America and currently they have the bulk of their stable awaiting racing at Hastings Racecourse.
For now, Horatio has been writing daily posts following patterns of data on the spread of the horrific virus that has halted racing, businesses and ‘normal’ life in general. When the virus began to devastate Italy and the USA appeared to be on the same path, he decided to track the numbers of his own country and province.
His posts are chatty, filled with familiar analogies, and comforting. His postings have attracted attention across Canada and beyond; check out some recent comments:
Thank you so much, Horatio Kemeny, and I want to also thank you from my Dad, who is reading and following your graphs & analysis every day. Tonight, I just received a text from him, asking me to send him the latest update – since I forgot to send it to him today. Just so you know, you are a contribution well beyond what you can see or know of first-hand. Thank you!
“Glad I found you. This is EXACTLY the information I have been looking for. Thank you.”
CANADIAN THOROUGHBRED got a chance to talk to Horatio on April 7.
CT: Horatio, what made you start writing a daily post, with graphs, on the spread of the coronavirus?
HK: It seems like a lifetime ago, but it was only about 2 1/2 weeks back; it just started when I saw charts that had data about the USA (coronavirus cases) and how it was about 10 days behind Italy in the progress of the virus, but in lockstep with Italy. The numbers lined up perfectly. It looked like the USA was going down that same road unless they got their act together.
In looking at Canada, I noticed that we were about 10 days behind the US and when the [spread of the virus] grows, it seems to follow a certain trajectory. These three countries seemed to be on the same track, unlike South Korea which had managed to get things under control.
I did a graph, posted it and it received some interest. People liked seeing the graph so I continued to plug in the numbers (cases, deaths, etc.) each day.
CT: How did you gravitate from posting graphs to adding the very user-friendly content?
It was interesting to watch as the USA numbers started to trend upwards and Canada was following it. It was concerning. But when changes were made [by governments, such as the stay home measures] I decided to add my commentary. Since I had so much time, not driving my car two hours to work each day, and we have to exercise our brain in some way, I wanted to write. There is so much going on the world that is so easily connected to what everybody is experiencing.
It seems people are enjoying reading it and I enjoy writing it.
There is always an easy way to putting things in a way everyone will understand and compare things that people are familiar with for a difficult topic.
CT: One post in particular recently mentioned President Trump and how some states have very different approaches to dealing with the virus, much different than that of what is recommended in Canada by Prime Minister Trudeau. What was your feedback on that one?
HK: I am not intending to write a political commentary. But with that one, and it is still making the rounds, it reached a lot of horsepeople, such as in Kentucky, and it has led to interesting discussion. In some places there is just such a different way of thinking.
CT: British Columbia seems to have done well with ‘flattening the curve’; is that what you are seeing?
HK: It seems to be getting under control here and if you could put a bubble around BC it would be gone.
Remember, the virus needs a host. If every single person went into 14-day isolation, the virus would be gone. But that is not happening and it takes just one person to go and hang out with 50 people and then they all have it. It’s very unfortunate.
At the end of the day we are all doing what we can and there is comfort knowing that. Look, and I wrote this on one of my posts, our forefathers were storming the beach at Normandy and we are being asked to stay home and watch Netflix.
But we as people are used to framework, structure and [as it goes on] we are worried about our livelihood, where our next paycheque is coming from. At least in Canada we have some sort of leadership that figured it out fairly quickly and is helping people with the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit. We are so lucky to be in this country.
CT: Hastings Racecourse was shut down to stabling/training a couple of weeks ago, but Great Canadian Gaming announced it would re-open the stabling area on May 1 but that it would not consider holding racing unless there were spectators. What is the feeling with horse owners in BC?
HK: We’re waiting it out. I hope the people running racing here in BC are forward-thinking enough to do what they need to do to now get racing going again, otherwise it won’t be here. I miss my horses a lot. I would normally be out there in the mornings watching the training.
An excerpt from one of his posts – Until recently, none of us had even heard of Dr. Bonnie Henry… but now, we all want to adopt her. And it’s not just the calm, soothing voice of reason that’s so enchanting… it’s the actual substance of what she’s saying. She’s not making it up as she goes along. She’s not up there to make herself look good. She’s not up there incoherently throwing blame around. She’s surrounded herself with excellent people who she consults on a continual basis. She’s not afraid to admit she was wrong, and, accordingly, she’s willing to course-correct… which, if you read back on the evolution of this emerging pandemic in B.C., has happened more than once. She is, in every sense of the word, a leader.
Horatio’s Facebook Page (you would have to request him as a friend to see all of his great posts)