In 1936 a Horse of the Year award was created by a poll of the staff of The New York Morning Telegraph and its sister newspaper , the Daily Racing Form (DRF), a tabloid founded in 1894 that was focused on statistical information for bettors .  At the same time a rival poll was organised by the Baltimore -based Turf and Sport Digest magazine.  Formed in 1942 as an advocacy group , the Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA) inaugurated a competing award in 1950, selecting its winners from votes by racing secretaries from member tracks across the United States. The three systems resulted in different opinions as to "Horse of the Year" Champions in 1949, 1952, 1957, 1965, and 1970.  In 1971, the DRF and TRA made an agreement with the National Turf Writers Association to merge into one set of awards, called the Eclipse Awards .