Born and raised on an Arizona ranch, Finley grew up using good horses. In the mid-1940s, Finley and his brother, Jack, purchased their first Quarter Horse. Tom was involved with every aspect of the Quarter Horse as breeder, trainer, competitor and judge. He also chaired an equine advisory committee for President Gerald Ford.
In 1946, Tom purchased Texas Dandy, which catapulted Finley Ranches to the top of the Quarter Horse industry. Using Texas Dandy as a herd sire, Finley bred and raised Little Egypt, a mare who was a stakes winner and earned 29 halter points. Another well-known Texas Dandy daughter is Superior racehorse Dandy Doll. When the mare was bred to Lightning Bar she produced the famous Doc Bar.
Finley Ranch dominated Arizona shows in halter and performance classes, especially in the Get of Sire, Produce of Dam and Sire and Get group halter classes in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Tom was elected as President of Arizona Quarter Horse, an AQHA Director and the 17th President of AQHA.
Finley was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1992 and died in 2002 at 84. In 2013 Tom Finley was inducted into the inaugural Arizona Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame.