Tony Soprano loves animals, probably more than humans. He goes through great distress when a family of ducks who lived in his swimming pool leave. But no animal is closer to Tony’s heart than his horse, Pie-O-My, even if the horse had truly been Ralph Cifaretto’s (Joe Pantoliano). Ralph is a good breadwinner and a decent enough boyfriend to Jackie Aprile’s widow.
Yet Ralph is also erratic and violent, harboring resentment that he isn’t even a capo when his old friend is a boss, and quick to make rude comments or, say, beat the strip to death. 21 year old teaser who is pregnant with her child. A comment on New York City Deputy Chief Johnny Sack’s wife leads Sack to ask for a hit on Ralph.
Pie-O-My becomes a great source of income for Tony and Ralph after Tony gives Ralph some racing advice and Ralph in turn gives him partial ownership. Tony falls in love with the horse but Ralph sees it only as a way to earn money. He is stranded and Pie-O-My’s stable is set on fire, fatally injuring the horse. Tony accuses Ralph of killing the horse for the insurance money, and Ralph almost admits it, leading to a fight in which Tony kills the man with his own hands.
Not only does he lose a good income, but it also creates mistrust, with the crew wondering about a boss who kills a superior on a horse. But since everyone hated Ralph anyway, his death ended up being a good thing.