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

to support a person or thing that fails It was only after we'd invested all the money that we discovered we'd been backing the wrong horse.
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