NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Colonial Downs is preparing to welcome back fans into its stands for the start of the 2021 horse racing season.

Crews spent Thursday preparing the racetrack and areas that will house hundreds of horses. Jill Byrne, the Vice President of Racing Operations, said that workers have been doing things like maintaining the dirt track and mowing the grass for months.

“It takes all year really to prepare and of course we ramp up a lot more when we’re about 4 or 5 months out,” she said. “It’s a lot of work to do, get the grass growing the way it needs to, the dirt track in shape and the stable areas, the entire facility.”

Colonial Downs’ third season kicks off Monday. Last year, Colonial Downs paused their season because of the pandemic.

“We had to shut down our race meet only about six days in because of COVID and it was the right thing to do,” Byrne said.

But the new season will bring more than 400 horses to Colonial Downs’ stables and jockeys from all over the country. Byrne said she’s also looking forward to the grandstands being filled with thousands of fans again.

“There’s no other sport that lends better to outdoor entertainment than horse racing,” she said. “To be able to have fans come back here and to be able to have the horsemen back, obviously with the hopes of putting on a successful 21 days of racing.”

Live races will occur every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Byrne said this should attract 2,000 people a day for the season.

The general admission and parking for fans are free. You can find more information online here.