Gulfstream Racetrack awards scholarships to UF veterinary students

Three students from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine have received scholarships from Gulfstream Park to further their studies in equine medicine and surgery and research.

Established after the death of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, the scholarship program is in its second year. One of a family of racetracks owned by Magna Entertainment Corp., the park provides $12,500 in financial assistance as well as professional mentoring through the American Association of Equine Practitioners to two senior UF veterinary students committed to pursuing a career in equine medicine and surgery.

Those scholarships are known as the Florida Derby Scholarships.

In addition, the park provides $5,000 through the Barbaro Research Scholarship to a UF veterinary graduate student who is conducting equine research.

The D.V.M. student scholarships went to Weston Davis, of Fort Myers, and Ben Stoughton, of Merritt Island.

“Both my uncle and my father are veterinarians and they have been excellent role models and mentors for my entrance into the career,” Davis said. “My specific interest in the equine field also came early in life. My family owns a beef cattle operation in Clewiston and I gained a lot of basic experience in handling, riding and training by growing up around working ranch horses.”

As Davis grew older, he began competing in rodeo events, primarily team roping.

“I found that I really enjoyed the sport and equine athleticism,” Davis said. “This really shifted my interest from general large animal medicine to sport horse medicine.”

Next year, Davis will complete an internship at Oakridge Equine Hospital, a sports medicine/surgical center in Edmond, Okla.

Stoughton, the other senior veterinary student winner, said he enjoyed working outside and what he called the freedom of mobile equine veterinary practice.

“Equine practice allows for such case diversity and the ability to really touch people’s lives close to home,” he said. He plans to join a group of veterinarians who work closely together to provide excellent veterinary care and communication.

The graduate student scholarship went to Claire Ryan, D.V.M., a board-certified internist in large animal medicine. Originally from Wisconsin, Ryan is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed an internship in equine medicine and surgery at the Ontario Veterinary College and a residency at UF in large animal medicine. Ryan is now pursuing a Ph.D. in equine immunology. Her clinical and research interests include equine neonatology, immunology and Rhodococcus pneumonia in foals.

All three scholarships were presented to their recipients inside the winner’s circle at the annual Florida Derby, held March 29 at Gulfstream Park.

Senior UF veterinary student Ben Stoughton; UF veterinary graduate student Dr. Claire Ryan;
trainer Michael Matz; Matz’s son, Alex; Mary Milu, vice president of human resources, Gulfstream Park;
senior UF veterinary student Weston Davis and Dr. Mary Scollay-Ward.
Photo: Adam Coglianese


For more information on the University of Florida Veterinary Medical College, please visit



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