The team investigates the 1986 murder of accomplished 45-year-old Mexican-born jockey Sonny Sandoval, who "disappeared" within hours of losing a race he'd long planned as his last before retirement.
In 1986, a group of horse jockeys pray with a reverend before racing. A rider and his son walk down to the starting gate. The father says after their next win he wants to return home to Mexico. Later, the rider is killed and his body is buried in a shallow grave.
During the present day, the team discovers the rider’s body after the body was accidentally dug up during construction. They find a business card with a ten digit number on it. Rush learns the victim, Sonny Sandoval, has multiple puncture wounds in back of his head. They learn Sonny’s son Jose filed a missing person’s report. Vera reports that Sonny made a lot of money, but his house was going to be foreclosed. Jeffries says that Sonny had women, money, cars and a free pass from the police. He says he is going to talk to the local bookies. In his calendar, Jeffries sees he has an appointment with a woman named Wanda. Sonny’s son Jose tells the detectives he thought his father went back to Mexico, but suspected something was wrong when he couldn’t find him. Valens tries to speak to Jose in Spanish, but Jose says he doesn’t understand since he was born in Philly. Jose says he wanted to be like his father, but he grew too big. He states the last time he saw his father was after he lost a race. Jose says his father’s assistant, Angelo Rivera, took advantage of him.
They meet with Angelo at a city horse stable. He says Sonny was like a father to him. The detectives tell him they know he was arrested for theft and for possession of drugs. Angelo says he took the pain killers and became addicted after he broke his collar bone. He remembers when Sonny defended him after another jockey named Ric Yanko criticized his riding style. Later, Rush explains that her mom worked at a race track and she would wait there until she got off work. Jeffiries and Vera go to a bar and meet with Ric. They inform him they found Sonny’s body and suspect he had something to do with it since he became successful after he disappeared. Ric says Sonny made him a better rider. He shows them that he was paralyzed from the waist down by a horse in ’92. He explains that the jockeys had a brotherhood like bond. He remembers when Sonny told him about an operation he refused to have. He remembers the horse owner, Baxter, told Sonny that he is his boss and shouldn’t spend his money carelessly. Ric says even though Baxter hated Sonny, he couldn’t fire him since he had a three year contract. He believes Baxter thought Sonny was worth more dead than alive.
At the race track, Vera and Jeffries ask Baxter about Sonny. He explains that Sonny was one of his best riders. He adds as long as Sonny had his head on straight, he was a very good jockey. He thinks Sonny’s female trainer was a bad influence. He remembers when Sonny got angry at him when he wanted to send one of his best horses out to stud. Sonny said he didn’t want to ride another horse named Sapphire because he was too young. Baxter ordered him to ride because of his contract. Baxter says that the trainer, Kristi Duren, filled Sonny’s head with ideas that they needed to treat the horses better. He explains that Sonny moved in with Kristi. Later, Jeffries informs Vera that Kristi is in the city. Vera tells Stillman that they located a safe deposit box that belonged to Sonny. Stillman shows Vera a picture of him asleep in his car. He orders Vera to get a physical.
Rush and Valens meet with Kristi and inform her they found Sonny’s body in a horse pit. She says that horses back then were killed for their meat. She explains Sonny showed her a lot about horses and life. She remembers when Sonny suggested she take a job in Saratoga. Kristi told Sonny he was a great racer. She remembers he took pain medication and had a hard time getting out of his tub. She remembers that Sonny and Jose were arguing in Spanish. Kristi figured that Jose had money problems from gambling. They wonder why Jose lied about not having money problems or having the ability to speak Spanish. Valens asks Jose if he is embarrassed about being Mexican. Jose says his mother wanted him to assimilate. They ask him why he reported Sonny missing so late. He explains that Sonny needed a new trainer for Sapphire and he didn’t want to let his dad down. He remembers he told his dad that he was fully committed to training Sapphire. Sonny told Jose he had to have the horses trust him. Sonny said since Sapphire had never lost a race, if he lost it would be his fault. Sonny than got mad at a man named Juan Diaz. Jose explains that Juan sold horse meat and came around to see if they had any he could buy.
Later, Valens meets with his dad and asks him if he knows about his mom’s hurt knee. Valen’s dad explains that she slipped and fell just before she was going to make paella. Jeffries tells Stillman that today is the anniversary of a missing person who is a daughter of a friend named Wanda. Rush informs the team that Juan Diaz was deported back to Mexico. They learn that Juan and Angelo came from the same town. Rush and Valens meet with Angelo and ask him about Juan. Angelo explains that Juan offered him a job to bury horses. They ask him if he buried Sonny in the grave. Angelo remembers when he told Sonny he was sorry that he lost his horse. Sonny told Angelo he knew he stole from him and suggested he take care of himself. Angelo informs the detectives that Sonny’s horse was killed during a stable fire that he suspects was set for insurance money. Rush handcuffs Angelo and takes him to the station.
The detectives bring Baxter to the station and ask him about the horse he lost. They tell him they know he was investigated for insurance fraud. Rush shows Baxter a record that shows he made several millions from the loss of the horses. They detectives suspect he killed Sonny to keep him quiet. Baxter remembers when he was with Jose when they watched Sonny in his last race. They saw Sonny take the lead, but lose in the last minute. Baxter told Jose that he was angry, then had a heart attack. Baxter says he thinks Sonny lost on purpose. Rush informs Baxter they are going to arrest him for insurance fraud. Vera brings Sonny’s safe deposit box to the station. They see it contains his life insurance policy and a copy of last physical which shows there was blood in Sonny’s urine. Valens tells Jose they suspect Sonny was killed with a bow rake. The detectives tell Jose they believe he lost a lot of money on Sonny’s loss. Jose says he didn’t think his father cared about him. They inform him that Sonny was in bad shape and signed him as his sole beneficiary of his life insurance policy. Jose remembers when he found his dad at the stable after he lost. Jose told Sonny he borrowed ten thousand and bet it on him to win. Sonny explained he couldn’t let Baxter win after what he did to his last horse. Sonny told Jose the horses deserve better. Jose says he got angry and hit has dad on the head with a rake. Jose is arrested for his father’s murder.
- Kathryn Morris as Lilly Rush
- Danny Pino as Scotty Valens
- John Finn as John Stillman
- Jeremy Ratchford as Nick Vera
- Thom Barry as Will Jeffries
- Tracie Thoms as Kat Miller
- Sam Henning as Randall Baxter (1986/2009)
- Ronnie Alvarez as Angelo Rivera (1986)
- Rick Batalla as Sonny Sandoval
- Michael Francis Cardelle as José Sandoval (1986)
- Isamel "East" Carlo as Ramiro Valens
- Susan Diol as Kristi Duren (2009)
- Carlos Sanz as José Sandoval (2009)
- Jacob Vargas as Angelo Rivera (2009)
- Anna Wood as Kristi Duren (1986)
- Michael Enright as Rick Yanko (2009)
- Tracie Thoms does not appear in this episode.
- This episode shares similarities with the Season 3 episode "Frank's Best".
- Both victims are fathers who are killed by their respective sons.
- Both sons feel neglected and overlooked by their father and have anger control issues.
- Both victims have an animal who is put in mortal danger prior to their deaths.
- Both victims appear to a friend who they worked alongside and acted as a mentor to.
All music featured is by Santana:
- "Oye Como Va"
- "Everything's Coming Our Way"
- "Evil Ways"
- "Black Magic Woman"
- "Se A Cabo"
- "Jin Go Lo Ba"
- "Samba Pa Ti"