back the wrong horse

back the wrong horse

To support a person or an effort that fails. This expression refers to betting on horse races. You really backed the wrong horse when you picked that swimmer to win the race—he didn't even medal! Politicians who backed the wrong horse in the election are now trying to curry favor with the winning candidate—without much success.
See also: back, horse, wrong

back the wrong horse

Fig. to support someone or something that cannot win or succeed. I don't want to back the wrong horse, but it seems to me that Jed is the better candidate. Fred backed the wrong horse in the budget hearings.
See also: back, horse, wrong

back the wrong horse

Also, bet on the wrong horse. Guess wrongly or misjudge a future outcome, as in Jones garnered only a few hundred votes; we obviously backed the wrong horse, or Counting on the price of IBM to rise sharply was betting on the wrong horse. Transferred from wagering money on a horse that fails to win the race, a usage dating from the late 1600s, this term is widely applied to elections and other situations of uncertain outcome.
See also: back, horse, wrong

back the wrong horse

If you back the wrong horse, you support someone or something that fails in business or in a contest, election, etc. He backed the wrong horse in the recent Tory leadership contest. The PM has wasted no time in sending the pro-euro camp a signal that they've backed the wrong horse. Note: Verbs such as bet on or pick or phrases such as put money on can be used instead of back. Betting on takeovers can backfire if you pick the wrong horse.
See also: back, horse, wrong

back the wrong horse

make a wrong or inappropriate choice.
See also: back, horse, wrong

ˌback the wrong ˈhorse

(British English) support the person, group etc. that later loses a contest or fails to do what was expected: I certainly backed the wrong horse when I said United would win the Cup Final.Many people who had voted for the party in the election were now feeling that they had backed the wrong horse.
In horse racing, if you back the wrong horse you bet money on a horse that does not win the race.
See also: back, horse, wrong
References in periodicals archive ?
He added: "Len McCluskey and the Unite leadership in London are the type of people who could back the wrong horse in a one-horse race.
I hope there are others like MacGregor, in senior positions, who understand how crucial it is not to back the wrong horse.
Racecourse Association chairman Ian Barlow, the third signatory to racing's SIP-supporting letters to the government, reacted to inevitable criticism that racing had managed to back the wrong horse twice by saying: "We've always worked on the principle of trying to the best for racing.
Given that "Shutter Island" has made almost as much in its first three days as "The Lovely Bones" ($43 million) has after a month in wide release, did the studio back the wrong horse, especially since films released early in the year rarely receive Oscar attention
If you back the wrong horse you end up with someone else's choice.