Hedge

to get away from any dangerous spot. “We saw the slop coming, and hedged  at once.”
To make a hedge; to secure a bet, or wager, laid on one side, by taking the odds on the other, so that, let what will happen, a certain gain is secured, or hedged in, by the person who takes this precaution; who is then said to be on velvet.

to secure oneself from loss over one bet by making others. hedging , as a system of betting, is entirely dependent upon what happens in the market after a horse has been backed. From information, or good judgment, a backer selects, say, three horses, A, B, and C, whom he thinks likely to advance in the betting, and takes 50 to 1—say £1000 to £20—against each of them. As the race-day approaches the horse A may fall out of the betting, from accident or other cause, and have to be written off as a dead loss of £20. But the other two horses, as anticipated, improve in public favour, and the backer, who now becomes a hedger , succeeds in laying 5 to 1—say £500 to £100—against B, and 2 to 1—say 500 to £250—against C. The account then stands thus:—A is a certain loss of £20; but if B wins, the hedger  will receive £1000 and pay £500; balance in favour, £500. If B loses, the hedger  will receive £100 and pay £20; balance in favour, £80. If C wins, the hedger will receive £1000 and pay £500; balance in favour, £500. If C loses, the hedger  will receive £250 and pay £20; balance in favour, £230. Deducting, then, the loss of £20 on A, the hedger's  winnings will be considerable; and he cannot lose, providing his information or judgment lead to the required result. It must be borne in mind that very often a man who feels inclined to go in for a hedging  speculation, may back half a dozen horses, not one of which sees a short price or goes to the post; besides which it must never be forgotten, that, however well turf speculations may look on paper, they are subject to the contingency of the bets being honourably paid on settling-day—the Monday after a race—when unfortunately there are often more “receivers” than “payers” at the clubs. However, turf transactions are among professionals conducted at least as honourably as are any other business matters; and it is only the fledgling swell, to whom the Legislature gives special opportunities of losing his money, who is generally non est  when paytime comes. “The Druid” in Post and Paddock  has remarked:—

“The term hedging  has been quite superseded by “laying off;” and we had, in fact, quite forgotten it till we saw it stated in the papers lately, by a clergyman, who did not answer a question on doctrine as the Bishop of Exeter exactly liked, that his lordship addressed him to this effect: ‘You are hedging , sir; you are hedging !'”