The Czar Team
Meet the Team
Tim Finley, Co-founder and partner.
Born in Canton, Ohio, in 1946, as an ADHD child, I was raised in Massillon.
There were times I am sure my parents would have preferred having a pet rabbit, dog, or something less active. I was a fairly nice kid, but just could not sit still and was constantly on the move.
Born an animal fanatic, I constantly burdened my loving parents with veterinarian bills, incurred as a result of me bringing home stray dogs or injured animals. There was a farm nearby which allowed me the opportunity to be outdoors, plus to be surrounded by animals. On this farm there were three horses boarded for the daughters of rich-folk. We were middle-class, but there was no room in the family budget for me to own a horse. So, I volunteered my time cleaning stalls in return for the owners allowing me to brush and ride. I knew someday I would own my own horse.
I guess I was a below average student although not sure because my hyper-activity prevented me from sitting still long enough to look at my report cards. As a free spirit, I drove school personnel crazy. I have never been a rule guy so would rather do something and ask forgiveness rather than to ask permission. Our high school principal looked me in the eye and told me my grades were not good enough to graduate, but they were going to make an exception just to get me out of their hair.
A short stint in the labor force motivated me to enroll in college. Manual labor has never been my forte. I found college to be very cool because they did not impose all of those silly classroom rules, plus I could come and go at will, which is pleasing to someone who cannot tolerate rules and confinement. I was able to squeeze into Kent State, a state school, which was not allowed to reject anyone because of the state school status. What a blessing! The first year, I was on probation, but that worked out OK. For the first time in my life I discovered learning and I became addicted.
My first marriage, like many of my life endeavors, was a disaster, although we were blessed with two wonderful children – Tom (1968-2013) and Melissa (1969). As a new husband and father, my first real job was an engineer for Republic Steel Corporation. I loved being able to work in an office, but also being able to stomp around the steel mill with a clip-board, hard hat, and steel-toed shoes while looking smart and important.
At 24, following the divorce, and anxious to make my mark on this world, I moved to Columbus where, in 1977, I began my exciting lifetime career as a stockbroker. The clinches of Wall Street had me hooked. I was a bull, plus I had the bull necessary to con folks out of their money by convincing them I knew the future and which stocks were going up.
In Ohio, I always lived near and became close friends with the Amish. As a stockbroker with a pocketful of money, I was asked by my Amish friend, Jake Stutzman, if I wanted to partner with him on a semi-retired race horse being used temporarily to pull the family buggy. Jake thought the horse could make it back to the track and do well.
I knew nothing about racing horses but have always been one to go for anything that involved action. I drove from Columbus, Ohio, to Jake’s farm in Walnut Creek, where I had spent a great deal of time hunting Squirrel. Jake hooked the horse to a buggy and we climbed aboard. Clip-clop, down the road we went. The hair stood up on my arms, which was the indication I wanted in. I wrote my check that day and began my life-changing avocation. Finally! Not only did I have a horse, but it was a race horse.
In 1977, I married the new and only true love of my life, Loveda. We were married in a small chapel on the backside of the track at Scioto Downs by Reverend Harold Place, who was also a trainer/driver of Standardbred race horses. As of this writing, Loveda has put up with me and my shenanigans for 41 years and counting.
Loveda was born into a church-going Baptist family from southern Ohio, and they thought she was unwise for marrying a thrill-seeking agnostic. Needless to say, her family was thrilled 10 years later, when I enrolled in Bible College. The agnosticism was transferred into belief, but the shenanigans are still going strong.
During our marriage ceremony, and simultaneously with asking Loveda if she took me to be her husband for life, Rev. Place warned her that by being married to a race horse owner and trainer there would be many hills and valleys through the years. To my surprise, she said, “Yes.” I guess that was because she was raised in Southern Ohio, in the hills and valleys of Ohio. Our lives have been chocked-full of hills and valleys.
My second horse purchased was a $325. yearling named Chief. Being stupid, I thought a baby horse would be less dangerous because they only weigh a portion of what grown horses weigh. A couple of days after purchasing him, he reared and struck me in the jaw. It was a quick lesson that taught me I should have gone with a gentle and well-broken horse. But, it worked out OK. Chief and I learned together. He was sweet and remains my favorite horse.
I had a stall at the Ohio State Fairgrounds, a copy of the Care and Training of the Trotter and Pacer, and a brand-new harness. I was all set to learn how to be a horse trainer. Loveda read to me from the Care and Training as we feebly attempted to figure how all of those harness straps and buckles connect. It took a while, but we finally figured it out after trying to put the crupper over Chiefs head a few times.
The book described how to line drive, so that is what we did next. A couple of locals helped me hitch Chief the first few times. It was my first time to jog, as well as Chief’s. My hands were firmly in the handholds and feet planted in the stirrups when I was assured by a young kid who helped his family clean stalls, jog, etc. that I would be OK. I did not know his name, but I was embarrassed that this little fellow who was jogging beside me had more confidence in himself than I had. I was a grown man who was reassured by a kid. That was embarrassing, but humbling (a quality unfamiliar to this big-time stockbroker). The kids name was David Miller, who ultimately became The Purple Jesus. He grins every time he sees me.
The late Dave Rankin took over the training of Chief that winter by taking him to Florida. Dave also made me the proud owner of a broodmare named Mt. Airy Jill, who I put back into training. Dave promised me she would be a good one to train and drive. Jill became my matinee, fair, and “P-license” horse.
When the State Fairgrounds closed the racetrack forever, Loveda and I purchased a home in Delaware, Ohio. I continued my day job as a stockbroker in Columbus to support my training and racing avocation. I set-up my little stable at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, but never had the desire to train outside horses. I have always been a little guy and had no desire to have the pressures of a big stable and complaining owners. Stock brokering brought enough stress and complaining people into my life.
Early on, I concentrated on fixer-uppers because I wanted to become a good horseman and thought I could learn more from problem horses, plus could help a few horses that needed help. That worked well for me and it remains my forte. It is very fulfilling to be able to knock a few seconds off from previous trainers.
Fast forward to 2001…Our parents were deceased, and our kids were raised (Loveda had a daughter, Lynn, from a previous marriage), so Loveda and I sold everything in Ohio and fulfilled our lifetime dream by moving to Florida to train fulltime.
We had been paying $35. per month for a stall in Ohio, but Florida stalls were $350. per month. Ohio hay was $3.00 a bale compared to $15. in south Florida. It is so expensive to train here that I made the difficult decision to sell the three horses we had brought with us and to become beach bums.
Fast forward to 2012…Being a beach bum is not all that it is reputed to be. We enjoyed days on the beach, riding our bikes, a few fishing trips, karaoke at the Moose, and activities at church. But, we were bored, and we missed the horses.
Boredom is a weakening disorder that causes a person to traipse through each day doing stuff as life quickly passes by. Our so-called leisure time was being wasted.
Rejoice! One day, not realizing there were racehorse partnership groups, I was cruising Facebook, a website where many bored people congregate, when all of a sudden there was a photo of a pretty young lady (advertising people use pretty young ladies) standing in front of a horse stall stating that the horse with his head over the gate was one in which she owned a part. She stated that she was part of a group of small investors who pooled their money and were enjoying joint ownership. Naturally, she mentioned the name of the stable and said there were shares available in other horses.
WOW! Was this a dream come true? Was there really a stable who would accept a small investment? We could get back into the swing of owning a racehorse without risking our retirement money? The answer was, YES! One horse, and then two horses, and then three, etc., etc., etc.
During the past 6 years, we have bought into about 50 horses, some which have been sold. We now own 15. With my wife, Loveda, we started and maintain a Facebook group named ‘Harness Racing Partnership Community’, and we have just begun to build a website devoted to in-depth information on fractional ownerships.
Loveda and I have met many wonderful people (too many to mention) while training and racing throughout the years, plus our horses have given us a wealth of pleasure, so we want to give something back. We have had such a great time that I want to share with other people how they can have the opportunity to own a small affordable piece of one of God’s greatest creations – the Standardbred.
Welcome to The Partnership Czar.
Loveda Finley, Co-founder and partner.
I was raised in Southern Ohio, with my parents and three siblings, two brothers, and one sister. I fondly refer to my growing up in a four-room shack with a path, but I have nothing but fond memories of my childhood. There was a lot of love fostered in those four rooms. I had wonderful parents and with my Mom being a “stay-at-home mom,” we children learned the importance of balance in our lives; work, play, and respect.
During high school, my older brother broke (in which I was an active participant), trained, and showed western show horses. Being five years younger, I usually volunteered (lol) to sit second seat behind the saddle to teach the horse to accept more weight. I learned to love the animals at a very young age.
After graduating from high school, I attended Jewish Hospital School of Nursing in Cincinnati, OH. for 18 months, but found I enjoyed making money more than school attendance, so I dropped out and started a twenty-five-year professional career in the health insurance business. In 2011 I decided I wanted a degree so enrolled in Liberty University, from which I received an Associate Degree.
Married in my early 20’s, we were blessed with a beautiful daughter, Lynn. The marriage did not work well for either of us because we found we were better friends than partners-in-life. We remained friends throughout the years.
I soon met Tim. We had much in common, especially our love of family and animals. So, when Tim, invited me and my daughter to come along for the journey of a life-time together, I said, “Yes.” In 1977, we were married in the small chapel at Scioto Downs, and have been racing Standardbreds since.
As a family, we were fortunate to have a mini-farm in Delaware, Ohio, where we were able to paddock our horses, while training at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Country living permitted our three children to acquire an interest in animals, although only Tom chose to take an active role in racing.
In 2001, Tim and I moved permanently to Florida, which is where we reside year-round. Tim has covered most of this in his bio, so I will not bore you with more repeated detail but suffice it to say it has been a wonderful journey shared with the wonderful man that I love.
Getting older (tick-tock, tick-tock), looking back at our memories, and not having anything to look forward to; we decided to buy into fractional partnerships. Over time, we have purchased four or five Thoroughbreds (one of which raced in the Breeders Cup) and many Standardbreds (one of which raced in the 2017 Hambletonian and the Breeders Crown). All of our partnership horses have not done as well but many have paid their way.
I loved working with Standardbreds and love the sport of harness racing. I miss the day-to-day, hands-on touch and feel of the Standardbreds. Fractional ownership provides us the excitement of choosing a yearling to purchase, watching the yearling learn and progress in its training, and watching our horses race. The excitement is incredible and fractional partnerships give us the opportunity to be a part of the sport we love.
Kelly Welsh, Partner and Graphic Designer.
I was raised in Peterborough, Ontario Canada.
Horses have been big part of my life for more than 30 years.
My love for horses began when I was about 10 years old. My friend had horses and she got me addicted, spending time in her parents’ barn and occasionally going for a ride. For a few years, I took lessons and then spent time grooming horses and working with the foals in exchange for more lessons and free riding. The owner was big into Arabians and with a Wayne Newton mare, we participated and won numerous events throughout North America. From the Arabians, I went to Saddlebreds and once again were very competitive, winning at the Toronto Royal Winter Fair and Ontario Championships. In January 2013 my competitive riding halted due to a neck/shoulder injury so I had to sell my show horse, and purchased a young Friesian mare that has tremendous potential and is one of the highest ranking mares in Canada (judged at 2017 Keuring by Holland judges) my plans are to breed her in the spring.
For the past 5 years I have become very involved with the Standardbreds. I enjoy helping with foaling, working with foals and handling them as yearlings, and then watching them grow into talented race horses.
I attended College Art School for 3 years but put my brushes away about 20 years ago. This year I picked them up once again, specializing in painting horses and very much enjoying it. I am also part owner and Graphic Designer of an award winning magazine along with my horse interests, painting, young family, etc. It’s a busy life.
Some of us never outgrow the “I love horses” phase – I know I never will.