Saturday’s $200,000 Jerome Stakes (G3) for newly-turned 3-year-olds serves as the first Kentucky Derby qualifier of 2016 and will feature a field of nine on the inner track at Aqueduct.

As part of the “Prep Season” in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, the one-mile and 70-yard race will award points on a 10-4-2-1 scale to the top four finishers.

Flexibility has already earned points, garnering 4 for his runner-up finish in the November 4 Remsen (G2) on Aqueduct’s main oval. He also finished second in the non-points Nashua (G2) two starts back on November 4, both times finishing behind the well-regarded Mohaymen, who is currently in Florida readying for his seasonal reappearance.

Based upon his last two efforts, Flexibility has been installed as an overwhelming even-money favorite on the Jerome morning line. Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride the son of 2006 Kentucky Derby runner-up Bluegrass Cat for trainer Chad Brown.

Vorticity is the early 4-1 second choice following a victory in the December 5 James F. Lewis Stakes at Laurel Park. A maiden winner at Aqueduct two starts back, the James Lawrence II-trained colt is by Distorted Humor, sire 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide, and Jose Ortiz will be up on Vorticity.

King Kranz is still a maiden, but the Zayat Stables-owned colt finished second in the Futurity (G2) at Belmont in October and third to Vorticity in the James Lewis. Donegal Moon also possesses stakes experience, checking in fifth in the Remsen for Todd Pletcher, and Bird of Trey will be tested for class following a convincing win over Pennsylvania-bred rivals in the December 5 Pennsylvania Nursery at Penn National

Last-out maiden winners Condo King, In Equality, Let Me Go First and Silent Assassin round out the field.

Photo: Flexibility (red hat) finishing second to Mohaymen in Remsen Stakes courtesy of Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photography