Each year the first hint of spring in Virginia comes on the last Saturday in February with the Casanova Hunt's point-to-point horse racing program. The 1986 season begins this Saturday with nine races starting at 12:30 in the rolling hills of the Mt. Sterling Farm outside Warrenton.

In all, 133 entries will compete in four timber, three hurdle and two flat races. General admission is $5 per person; parking is free. Wear boots for the mud, dress warmly and pack a picnic.

To get there: From the Beltway, take I-66 west to U.S. 29 south at Gainesville. Follow 29 south for 12 miles and then left on Route 605 E. The course is three miles on right. For information, call 703/347-3611.

Here's the 1986 schedule for the point-to-point circuit in Virginia and Maryland:

SATURDAY -- Casanova Hunt, Warrenton, Va.; MARCH 1 -- Rappahannock Hunt, Sperryville, Va.; MARCH 8 -- Blue Ridge Hunt, Berryville, Va.;

MARCH 15 -- Warrenton Hunt, Warrenton, Va.; MARCH 22 -- Piedmont Fox Hounds, Upperville, Va.; MARCH 29 -- Middleburg Hunt, Middleburg, Va.; Howard County, Glenelg, Md.;

APRIL 5 -- Old Dominion Hunt, Ben Venue, Va.; Elkridge-Harford, Monkton, Md.; APRIL 6 -- Marlborough Hunt, Davidsonville, Md.; APRIL 12 -- My Lady's Manor, Monkton, Md.; APRIL 13 -- Oatlands, Leesburg, Va.; Foxcatcher Point to Point, Fair Hill, Md.;

APRIL 19 -- Fairfax Hunt, Leesburg, Va.; Maryland Grand National, Butler, Md.; APRIL 26 -- Maryland Hunt Cup, Glyndon, Md.; APRIL 27 -- Potomac Hunt, Potomac, Md.;

MAY 5 -- Virginia Gold Cup, The Plains, Va.; MAY 26 -- Fair Hill Races, Fair Hill, Md.;

JUNE 7 -- Fair Hill Races, Fair Hill, Md.