What does “pulled up” mean in horse racing?

The term “pulled up” refers to the act of a jockey pulling hard on the reins to stop a horse in the middle of a race, often indicating the horse may have been injured or taken a “bad step.” At the very least, the rider may have believed something had gone wrong.

Evaluating horses in their next race after being pulled up is tricky, but if they return to the races within a relatively short time and show regular workouts in the mornings, they may show no ill effects from the incident.

A long layoff after such an incident, on the other hand, suggests that the horse sustained a fairly serious injury that required time to heal. Such a horse may not show the same level of ability when it returns to action.

The term pulled up is not the same as “eased,” which signals that a horse was able to finish a race under its own power but the jockey stopped encouraging it. That more commonly means the horse was exhausted rather than injured, but again you’ll want to look at how much time passed before the horse’s next race and other factors as you try to read the tea leaves.