Racing to Heaven by Harriet Tramer is a different type of racetrack story. It's told from the point of view of a young female jockey who died while following her passion - galloping horses.
An unstable teen is sent to her aunt's ranch where she meets a chestnut stallion who communicates with her and teaches her how to ride - or is this a dream? Anyway, with Big Red as her constant companion, the girl "improves" her attitude and eventually she finds her way to the local track where she works with a young trainer and rides thoroughbreds in races. He puts her a "crazy" horses, which becomes her downfall.
Brenda (the reader doesn't learn her name until page 26) goes through a major physical and emotional transformation all because of Big Red.
This novel is part reality, part fantasy but the main character is likable and the writing style is as if you are reading her diary.