12/03/2004 12:00AM

New Year's stakes shuffle


MIAMI - The American Graded Stakes Committee's decision earlier this week to downgrade the Chaposa Springs Handicap from a Grade 3 race to ungraded status in 2005 has resulted in a change in the stakes schedule for the final weekend of the current Tropical-at-Calder meeting.

The Chaposa Springs is listed as a Grade 3 event on the stakes schedule for the 2004-05 Tropical session and was one of four stakes to be decided on the

Grand Slam III program on Jan. 1. But the downgrading becomes effective starting with the first day of the new year, even though the race is part of a meet that began during the fall of 2004.

As a result, to preserve the Grade 3 status of the upcoming edition of the Chaposa Springs, Calder's racing secretary, Bob Umphrey, will reschedule the filly-and-mare dash for Friday, Dec. 31.

"We feel it is very important to the owners and breeders of the fillies and mares who will run in this race to earn the graded status as it has been advertised all year," said Umphrey. "That is why we've decided to make the change and run the race 24 hours earlier."

Umphrey, as it happens, is a member of the American Graded Stakes Committee.

The rescheduling of the Chaposa Springs created a void on the Grand Slam III program that needed to be filled to maintain the theme of the event, as well as to keep the program's all-stakes pick four intact. Umphrey has replaced the Chaposa Springs with the $50,000 Happy New Year's Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going five furlongs on the turf.

The Grand Slam III card also will include the $100,000 Tropical Park Derby, a Grade 3; the $100,000 Tropical Park Oaks; and the $100,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap.

The news wasn't all bad for Calder from the Graded Stakes Committee, which upgraded three of the track's events, including the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap and $300,000 Carry Back Stakes. Both will carry Grade 2 status in 2005. In addition, the $100,000 Frances Genter Handicap was awarded Grade 3 status.

The Smile Sprint and the Carry Back are both part of Calder's increasingly popular Summit of Speed card in mid-July. Among the horses who have run in the two races over the past several years are two Breeders' Cup Sprint winners, Orientate and Cajun Beat, as well as Caller One, Shake You Down, Valid Video, Champali, and Clock Stopper.

Rider hurt in training

Exercise rider Robin Hansen, who is also a member of the track's publicity department, suffered a broken right femur, a broken bone in her shoulder, and a broken thumb in a training-hours accident here on Monday morning.

Hansen underwent surgery on Tuesday at the Jackson Memorial Trauma Center in Miami and is expected to remain hospitalized at Jackson for the next several days.

Not today, indeed

Notgonagetemtoday, a horse named after track announcer Phil Saltzman's patented race call, launched his career with a promising second-place finish in Friday's opening race. Unfortunately for the horse and his connections, Saltzman was making his signature call in late stretch for Bolido, who drew off to an easy victory in the 2-year-old maiden claiming event.

Notgonagetemtoday is trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. for owner Bea Oxenberg.

Saltzman, Calder's track announcer for 21 years, is hanging up his microphone and will retire at the end of this meet.

- Calder will switch to a six-day-a-week live racing schedule this week, with only Tuesdays dark through Christmas Day. There will be no dark days from Dec. 26 until closing day, Jan. 2. Full-card simulcasting will remain in effect on a seven-day-a-week basis, except Christmas.