back the wrong horse

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Related to backing the wrong horse: Back to square one, bark up the wrong tree

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 ?
We are backing the wrong horse if we vote in favour of this plan.
My message to them is that on this, the yare backing the wrong horse.
People go on about education and health but if money being raised by these events goes into state education in Africa then it is a case of backing the wrong horse.
David Theiss, a researcher at the NEF, said: "Our research shows the government is backing the wrong horse.
BACKING the wrong horse in a six-runner field, where each candidate supposedly had an equal chance, is forgivable, but making the wrong choice in a two-horse race is more like committing a grave mistake.
THE former leader of the Social Democratic Party has accused Nick Clegg of backing the wrong horse by campaigning for the Alternative Vote system in the May 5 referendum.