Recap: Leverage S 01 E 07 The Two Horse Job

This is not the horse you're looking for.
We are going to sell this guy the greatest horse that never lived.

A rancher, Willie Martin, and his daughter, Aimee, stare at a burning stable as the chilling sound of horses screaming comes from inside. Cut to Willie telling Nate that there were nine dead, with only one survivor, Baltimore. The owner was a Wall Street guy, Alan Foss, who burned them because they weren’t running the way he liked. Foss is going to get $2 million in insurance payouts, but Willie doesn’t want any of it. He wants Baltimore.

Then Aimee comes in and reacts angrily when she sees Eliot. Apparently, the two of them had a relationship in the past.

At a horse race, Sophie approaches Foss while Nate and Hardison test ways to fix poker games. Sophie lifts Foss's wallet and Parker scans his credit card, finding a bet on a horse called Kentucky Thunder. Sophie mentions a poker game she’s hosting, and Foss demands in. In the game, he finds himself short, and he throws in Baltimore to cover a bet. Nate wins (thanks to a little discreet cheating), and Foss throws his cards at him.

As Nate walks that evening, a car pulls up alongside him, and a man named Sterling begins talking to Nate. He’s one of Nate’s colleagues from IYS Insurance, and he thinks that Nate’s trying to get back into the company. Sterling mentions that he plans to pin the responsibility for the fire on Willie Martin so that the insurance company won't have to pay.

Sterling’s presence changes the game. Everyone else wants the run, but Nate realizes that Sterling won’t let this go, so they need to find a way to shut Foss down without making Willie the target. Nate comes up with something, but he’ll need a stable.

Aimee sets them up with one, and they bring Foss in. Sterling has told him he can't sell Baltimore until the investigation concludes, and Foss wants to buy him back. Nate won't take the deal for less than $2 million, which Foss balks at. Eliot privately apologizes for Nate’s behavior, and then Foss tells him about his scheme to form an investment group with a bunch of partners, investing in horses instead of stocks.

Aimee is not pleased with the way things are going, and she begins ranting at Eliot, demanding to know why he never even called. Eliot thinks back to being in prison with guards demanding to know where a monkey is. “I was working.” He grabs her and it looks like she’s going to struggle, but they start passionately kissing.

Nate is trying to come up with a plan, when Parker and Eliot come in talking about Mr. Ed, which inspires Nate with a variation on “the Lost Heir.” They decide to use the champion Kentucky Thunder as the lost heir. They get KT’s trainer away from the stable and then set the board. Hardison goes to the airport and finds a couple of Chinese tourists.

Next, Eliot is with Foss talking about a Chinese incident that killed six hundred of the best race horses in the world, which he sees as a crime. Then Eliot tells him there was one horse that escaped and points to the horse on the track, "Fei Kuai" (actually Kentucky Thunder). He then points out "the Chinese owners" (the tourists), who are trying to sell Fei Kuai before Beijing find out he survived. After seeing an impressive lap time, Foss decides he wants the horse for himself and offers twelve million, his entire group’s investment.

Sophie acts as interpreter for Foss. She asks the couple in Chinese about the man's shirt, and after they respond, tells Foss he has a deal. Afterwards, the Chinese woman asks for a picture with the group and then says she has to go to the bathroom. Along the way, she gives the camera to Sterling.

Sterling thinks he knows what Nate’s up to, but he can’t prove anything. The next day, Kentucky Thunder is gone, which means they need to get him back. They break into the stud farm and get him out, but then they run into a traffic accident on the road, and Eliot rides KT back to the stable.

With Kentucky Thunder in place, Foss makes the deal, all $12 mil of it. He then comes to show his investors their new horse. Sterling tries to tell him the horse isn't Fei Kuai, but Foss ignores him. When they get to the stall, they don't find Kentucky Thunder or Fei Kuai. Before the investors came in, the team switched numbers and name plates around. The horse in the stall labeled "Fei Kuai" is Baltimore, and Foss is caught trying to buy back a horse he originally insured for $200,000 and is now insuring for $12 million—which, as Sterling points out, is insurance fraud. Sterling denies the claim for the fire and leaves Foss to his angry investors. He owes them ten million, which is all he has left.

Nate presents Willie with Baltimore and a cool twelve million to get started.

At the Leverage office, Nate finds Sterling waiting for him. Their actions wound up helping each other out: the team got their job done, and Sterling found a way to save the company two million dollars. He leaves with a promise.

Sterling: I'm not going to be so nice next time.
Nate: Neither will I.

Tropes stolen in this job: