Trainer Clifford Sise Jr. was excited about a young Siphon colt named Royal Siphon early on. And, as the son of 1997 Santa Anita Handicap winner steps from a maiden victory into Saturday's Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-olds, Sise's optimism hasn't waned. "He acts like he's as good a horse as I've ever had," said Sise, who numbers 1996 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. i) runner-up Paying Dues among his more prominent alumni.Saturday's race includes a pair of highly-regarded Bob Baffert-trained juveniles in Bull Market and Kafwain among the seven starters. Mr. And Mrs. Larry D. Williams' Royal Siphon won his maiden race at Fairplex by six lengths on Sept. 18. Jockey Goncalino Almeida never asked him to run that day, but on Saturday, the Kentucky-bred bay colt will step up from a maiden event at a five-eighths of a mile track to graded competition. That wasn't the game plan. "I had him up to a race at Del Mar and intended to run him there but he got sick," Sise said. "You don't want to run a maiden in the Norfolk, so I wanted to get a race into him at Pomona. It all worked out pretty good so far. He had worked in 1:11 1/5 out of the gate at Del Mar, but he had mucous coming out of his nose that day." Sise, a St. Louis native who turns 51 on Oct. 18, has great admiration for Siphon as a stallion. "Royal Siphon is a great-looking horse," he said. "And he moves good, too." $200,000 Norfolk Stakes (gr. II), 1 1/16 mile, 2-year-olds
PP Horse, Rider
1. Bull Market, Mike Smith
2. Mr. Technique, Gary Stevens
3. Manhattan Express, Patrick Valenzuela
4. Kafwain, Victor Espinoza
5. Royal Siphon, Corey Nakatani
6. Oberwald, Laffit Pincay, Jr.
7. Listen Indy, Solis. All carry 120 pounds. Manhattan Express was supplemented to the race at a cost of $4,000.