A team of University of Kentucky students captured first place the weekend of Feb. 6 at the Georgia Bowl intercollegiate entrepreneurship competition hosted by Georgia Tech, in Atlanta.

Team Race Assured, comprising Julia Fabiani, an undergraduate student in equine science and management; Ben Martin, a graduate student in finance and agricultural economics; and Stefanie Pagano, a graduate student in biomedical engineering, earned a $2,500 cash prize for their efforts.

Race Assured is a service that provides a blood test that can potentially predict injuries in horses well before serious problems occur.

The UK squad bested six other teams representing five major universities: Georgia Tech, two teams from the University of Texas (Austin), the University of Tennessee, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Manitoba (Canada).

Thanks to its first-place finish, Team Race Assured will receive a recommendation to be accepted into Rice University's global competition, which is the largest competition for startups in the world.

The UK team's project was spun out of research developed by David Horohov, PhD, director of the Gluck Equine Research Center and chair of the Department of Veterinary Science, as well as the Jes E. and Clementine M. Schlaikjer Endowed Chair and professor in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

"It is both gratifying and exciting that our students have received this recognition," said Horohov. "Having watched their interest and enthusiasm for this project grow throughout the semester, I am not surprised they were successful in the competition." The three students brought the project to the UK Venture Studio bootcamp, and after 10 weeks the team elevated the concept into a business plan. Their ultimate goal is to start the company and launch Race Assured in Lexington.

The Venture Studio and bootcamp is part of UK's Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship and Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network, within the Gatton College of Business and Economics. To learn more or to get involved, click on their homepage for upcoming events in the Venture Studio: gatton.uky.edu/vace. The studio is located in Room 124 of the new Gatton College building.

"We are very proud of Julia, Ben, and Stefanie and what they have accomplished," said Von Allmen Center commercialization specialist and UK Venture Studio Director Mariam Gorjian, who serves as team coach. "This demonstrates the growing entrepreneurial spirit and savvy which is increasingly evident on our campus."

Carl Nathe, University of Kentucky Public Relations; in UK Now, Feb. 9. 2016

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