If this little trick for ferreting out contenders in maiden races doesn’t wow you, nothing will. You’ll see how Saturday’s mandatory-payout Super Hi-5 at Woodbine was fairly predictable. Yet each winning 20-cent ticket paid a whopping $1,941.

Simply do this in maiden races: Add up two numbers for each horse. Add up where the horse finished in his last race and the horse’s position at the FIRST CALL of the race before that. For example, if the horse finished third last time, and the time before was fourth at the first call, your added-up number is seven. The horses with the lowest added-up numbers are the main contenders.

Look at Woodbine’s tenth race Saturday, which you can download here. What horse has the lowest added-up numbers? It’s #8, Hall of Dreams. The 3-year-old chestnut gelding has added up numbers of six (finished second last time and was fourth at the first call of the race before that). The horses with the next lowest added-up numbers are #7 (with seven) and #2 (with nine). Wheel those two under #8 in the four positions with the four horses with the next-lowest added up numbers (1, 4, 5, 9). At 20 cents, the cost is minimal but the winnings are obviously huge. The winning $1,941 ticket was 8-2-9-4-7.

Actually, often you don’t even have to go that deeply. Just boxing the four or five lowest added-up numbers in your superfectas or triactors will often get you the cash.

Here’s something to keep in mind, though, in maiden claiming races where there are class-droppers in the race. A horse dropping from maiden special weight into a claiming race for the first time is a big danger, regardless of added-up numbers. That kind of dropper should be included with horses with the lowest added-up numbers.

I have so much confidence in this maiden race angle, I will quickly scan added-up numbers even as horses are loading in the gate and run to the betting window to bet, usually, a 5-horse or 6-horse 20-cent superfecta box. A 5-horse box is $24, a 6-horse box, $72. In a complex race where I believe there could be a big payoff, I’ll even box seven horses at a cost of $168.

Skeptical? Without wagering, add up numbers in a few maiden races and see what happens. You may notice a longshot doesn’t have recent low added-up numbers but has a group of low added-up numbers earlier in his career. Add that kind of horse to your box or wheels for a chance of a really big score.