Pensive (1941-1949) was a bright chestnut thoroughbred racehorse who in 1944 came closer than any other horse at the time to winning the U.S. Triple Crown. He was also the first to win the first two legs and then lose the third.
A son of England's Hyperion (who himself had won two thirds of England's Triple Crown), out of Penicuik II (by Buchan), Pensive, ridden by Conn McCreary, won the Kentucky Derby going away by four and a half lengths. A week later, he took the Preakness. The Belmont Stakes looked to be Pensive's for the taking. That year, the Belmont (at the time the least of the three races), had finally upped its purse to $50,000. Pensive was in the lead and headed for the wire and the winner's circle, when seemingly out of the blue, Bounding Home inched by to take the race by less than half a length.
Pensive was brought to the United States still forming in his mother's womb by Arthur B. Hancock who then sold the mare to the owner of Calumet Farm, Warren Wright. Wright had inherited Calumet from his father, William Monroe Wright, president of the Calumet Baking Powder Company. In time, Warren Wright was also president of the baking powder company, and he took it to the financial heights of the business world. When he also took over Calumet in 1931, he sold off the trotters his father favored and began buying Thoroughbreds for flat racing. Under Warren Wright, Calumet enjoyed years of racing dominance.
At two, Pensive raced five times, winning only twice. He lost the three which were stakes races. At three, he ran a checkered season, winning and losing fairly equally. He beat older horses in the Rowe Memorial Handicap, but lost to a great older horse, Tola Rose, in the Bowie Handicap. Tola Rose had whipped Whirlaway. But when it came to the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, even the Belmont, Pensive was on top of his game. For want of a short burst of speed, often thought to be his jockey's fault who was known for his closing style, Pensive would have won the Triple Crown.
For some reason, after that Pensive lost his form altogether. He ran another eight races, and won none.
At this point he was retired to stud, producing the winner of the 1949 Kentucky Derby, Ponder. He died in '49, just after his son won the Derby. Pensive is buried at Calumet Farm.