12/31/2011 4:52PM

Aqueduct: Callmetony claimed just before turning 11


The claiming epidemic is so widespread at Aqueduct  this winter that two claims were put in Friday for the now 11-year-old Callmetony. Joe Imperio won a two-way shake over David Jacobson, nabbing him for $7,500 from owner Roddy Valente and trainer Bruce Levine.

Callmetony finished fourth in Friday’s first race, which was the 77th start of his career.

A race for $7,500 claimers carries a $29,000 purse with the winner earning $17,400.

“The purses are good. He tries hard every time. You know he’s sound,’’ Imperio said. “He wouldn’t be running if he wasn’t sound. He’s a really nice horse. If he’s not good he won’t run. I’m not looking to hurt him.’’

Imperio does expect someone – possibly Valente – to claim Callmetony back when he runs.

“I’m just renting him,’’ Imperio said.

Levine and Repole reunite

While Levine lost one of his favorite horses, he did this week reunite with one of his former owners, Mike Repole.

On Thursday, Repole and Levine claimed Just Hold On for $17,500 from David Jacobson. In addition, Repole moved four other horses – claimers and New York-breds – to Levine. Repole and Levine had a successful five-year run in the mid-2000s before Repole transferred the bulk of his stable to trainer Todd Pletcher in early 2010.

The last horse Repole and Levine ran together was Poovey on Dec. 16, 2010, but the partnership was on its way to dissolving well before then. The relationship began to sour early in 2010 when Levine had taken one of his better horses, Buddy’s Saint, for a different owner, to Gulfstream Park to try and get him on the Kentucky Derby trail.

“We kind of buried the hatchet and got together,’’ Levine said. “We had a meeting, cleared everything aside and got remarried.’’

Repole said with the purse increases in New York due to slot revenue, he plans to do more claiming even in the $10,000 to $50,000 level.

“I think Bruce is a really good trainer and I think he’s a great claiming trainer. He can improve on a horse,’’ Repole said. “Bruce and I have had success before, no reason why we can’t do it again. He’s taught me a lot about this game. I’m glad to be doing business with him again.’’

Repole said that Pletcher will remain his No. 1 trainer and will even make high-priced claims for him. Repole said he would use Levine as well as Carlos Martin with low-to-mid-level claiming horses and New York-breds.

Lemon Splendor to get a freshening

Lemon Splendor, who showed that she could handle dirt winning Thursday’s $75,000 Swirlaway Stakes by nearly four lengths, will get a freshening before her connections decide where next to run the New York-bred filly.

Lemon Splendor, a daughter of Lemon Drop Kid, was coming off a maiden turf victory in her second start and was making her dirt debut in the Swirlaway. Though she appeared to resent having dirt kicked in her face, Lemon Splendor did level off and finished well when placed in the clear. Lemon Splendor ran a mile and 70 yards in 1:44.96 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 66.

“Visually, I didn’t think she was handling it that well at all,’’ trainer George Weaver said. “She was carrying her head high up and the jockey confirmed that when we talked to him. We were happy the way she finished when he asked her to run.’’

Since Weaver ran Lemon Splendor three times in 40 days, he plans to give her a little freshening. He said he would wait about a month before deciding whether to run her in a turf race at Gulfstream or keep her on the dirt in New York.