What Does Pulled Up Mean in Horse Racing?

Pulled up denotes that the horse and rider have stopped the horse during a race. Jockeys can pull up their horses to remove them from the races where they are far behind the pack or where there might be a risk to the horse.

Pulled up is different from a horse getting to a fence and stopping.  This is known as Refused, i.e. refused to jump a fence, and is denoted by an ‘R’ on the race card.  Horses that have been pulled up will be shown with a ‘PU’.

Pulled Up Explained

pulled up explainedSometimes, jockeys will decide to pull up their horses in the middle of a contest. That isn’t because they do not think they can place on a tiring horse or win. It’s to protect the horses from harm when the jockeys sense that they’re struggling with the speed of the race in question. The horses might be idling in their work or have hit an obstacle.

The risk of injuries increases when horses become tired, especially in chase or hurdle races, so riders pull them up to protect their welfare. All racers, including the most competitive ones, can be pulled up, which takes place when the ground isn’t ideal for them.

Practical Examples

horse being pulled upIf you look at most jump racing meetings you will likely see one or more horses pull up during the day.  It is less common in flat racing given the distances are so much shorter.

Horses tend to be pulled up more in longer handicap races, especially those involving a lot of challenging fences (like the Grand National or Cross Country Chase).

In most cases, horses that are pulled up do not affect the race. But sometimes, they can result in other horses being brought down, falling, or unseating jockeys.

How to tell if a Horse has Been Pulled on a Racecard

race card showing horse pulled up puThe recent form of a horse is usually displayed underneath or next to its name on a racecard. This may look like any random selection of digits to a new player, but it is how a given horse has performed in its recent races.

You should read a racecard form from left to right. The last number on the right indicates the most recent run of the horse. Knowing if a particular horse has been pulled up is easy. You just need to look for the letter P or letters PU on the racecard.

Why Are Horses Pulled Up

vet inspecting horses legs

Various Reasons lead to the pulling up of horses. But in general, it’s about the overall health of the horses. Race horses are worth a lot of money and pushing them to their limits could result in injuries, causing their value to depreciate. Also, riders don’t own the horses, which can significantly influence decisions. They do not want to injure the horses of other individuals.

If a horse seems off-balance, tired or isn’t in good condition to complete the race, they will be pulled up. The health of the horses is the most critical factor in horse racing. And because of this, riders do not push them beyond their ability. If they push the horses, they still have very little chance of finishing the contest.

What Happens To Bets?

Horse Non RunnerIf you are a punter, you will lose your stake if the horse you have backed is pulled out of the race after it starts. This is because sportsbooks know that the jockey was sure that the horse was in the proper condition to complete the race when it started, and so the betting odds were based on that.

However, depending on your sportsbook, you can get your stake back if your horse of choice is pulled up before the race starts. In most cases, pulling up of horses occurs during races and in this case, you’ll not get your stake back from the sportsbook.