I was a little concerned that readers' eyes would shoot directly to the final panel, but the punchline doesn't really depend on the image being a surprise; in fact, I had planned earlier to put the toy pony in panel 2. I had also figured on a different pony, until I had to decide the best way for Virgil to tell Umberto to shut up... and remembered this: [link]
Does Virgil speak in full honesty rather than rationalization, or has Umberto surmised correctly? We may never know, because I expect never to use this prop again. You can breathe a sigh of relief, non-fans.
I copied the toy from a Google Image, not my own (nonexistent) collection. My drawing deviates (heh) in minuscule ways, but hey, Hasbro hasn't been perfect in visual fidelity either. For example, on the show, she has three butt-butterflies instead of one.