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What Does "Pulled Up" In Horse Racing Mean?

What Does "Pulled Up" In Horse Racing Mean?

Horse racing, a sport with an illustrious history dating back to the 18th century, is filled with unique terms and jargon that can seem confusing to the uninitiated. One such term that often causes bewilderment is "pulled up". 

In this comprehensive article, we are going to demystify this term, explore the circumstances where it might occur, and discuss its implications for your bet. 

What Does Pulled Up Mean In Horse Racing?

In the context of horse racing, "pulled up" refers to the act of a jockey intentionally halting their horse mid-race. This manoeuvre involves the jockey pulling on the reins, causing the horse to decelerate eventually to a complete stop. 

This scenario may unfold if the jockey perceives that the horse is in distress, potentially injured, or unable to proceed with the race safely. The welfare of the horse is paramount; thus, pulling up a horse is a precautionary measure undertaken to avoid further harm to the horse and ensure the safety of both the horse and jockey. 

Contrary to what one may assume, pulling up is not exclusive to horse racing. The term is also associated with runners who halt their race due to an injury or some other reason. 

PU In Horse Racing

In the parlance of horse racing, "PU" is simply an abbreviation for "pulled up". Bookies and commentators often resort to this shorthand to maintain brevity and clarity in their communication. Hence, you might see "PU" written next to a horse's name, indicating that the horse was pulled up during the race. 

Do You Lose Your Bet If The Horse Is Pulled Up?

The fate of your bet if a horse is pulled up largely hinges on the rules established by the bookmaker. As a general rule, a pulled-up horse is considered withdrawn and does not qualify for a position. Consequently, there is no betting result, and your bet could potentially be returned. 

However, some bookmakers classify a pulled-up horse as a non-finisher and assign it a losing position. In such instances, your bet could also result in a loss. Therefore, before placing a bet, it is advisable to familiarise yourself with your bookmaker's policies or be prepared for a potential loss. 

Do You Get Any Money Back If A Horse Pulls Up?

The answer to this question is more nuanced and depends largely on the specific bookmaker's policies. Generally, bookmakers consider a bet on a pulled-up horse as a losing bet, and you may not get any money back. 

However, a few bookmakers might refund your stake on the grounds that the horse didn't complete the race and thus didn't have a finishing position. Yet, it's worth noting that such cases are more the exception than the norm. 


Like any sport, horse racing is replete with unpredictability and volatility. Horses, being living creatures, can experience distress and injuries during races, leading to them being pulled up. Although the sight of a horse being pulled up may be disappointing, particularly if you've placed a bet on it, it's done with the horse's welfare in mind.