Carmacks -- Peter Butteri of Tok held onto his lead Tuesday in the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race and another dog died on the trail, marking the second dog to die in the 1,000-mile race from Fairbanks to Whitehorse.
Butteri was the first musher to leave the Carmacks checkpoint for the 80-mile run to Braeburn, just 100 miles from the finish line.
Butteri left Carmacks at 7:57 a.m. Joran Freeman of Two Rivers followed him out at 9:35 a.m. Canadian contender Hans Gatt pulled out of Carmacks at 10:17 a.m.
Twenty-eight mushers remain in the race. Thirteen mushers have scratched.
Gatt, of Atlin, British Columbia, said he can't catch Butteri this late in the race unless the leader makes a major mistake.
"He has too big of a lead," Gatt said.
Butteri, speaking at Pelly Crossing, said he must not ignore those running behind him.
"With Hans' reputation back there, I have got no illusions that I've got the fastest dog team at this point in the race. I've got a little bit of a lead, I've got 10 healthy dogs and I hope to be able to maintain both of them to the end."
Freeman and Gatt both have eight-dog teams.
David Monson of Fairbanks, the 1988 champion, and William Kleedehn of Carcross, left the Carmacks checkpoint Tuesday afternoon within two minutes of each other.
Meanwhile, Two Rivers musher Christopher Knott saw one of his dogs collapse on the way into Pelly Crossing. Knott was carrying the dead dog in his sled when he pulled into Pelly Crossing at 12:27 a.m. Tuesday.
"He explained that he was five miles out of Pelly when this dog suddenly tipped over; an instant death," race marshal Mark Lindstrom said Tuesday morning.
Head vet Margy Terhar said there was no apparent cause of death. The dog will be sent to Fairbanks for a necropsy. The dog, a male named Viper, twice finished the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
It was second dog death this race. Colorado musher Bill Pinkham lost his dog, Friendly, Feb. 10 near Central when he lost control of his sled and it flipped over. The musher was able to right the sled, but two of his dogs were tangled up in the line. Pinkham freed one of the dogs, but the second one was hurt.
Pinkham tried to resuscitate the injured animal but after about five minutes realized it was dead.
Through 8 p.m. Tuesday
Out of Carmacks -- Peter Butteri, Tok, 7:57 a.m.; Joran Freeman, Fairbanks, 9:35 a.m.; Hans Gatt, Atlin, British Columbia, 10:17 a.m.; Thomas Tetz, Carcross, Yukon, 1:50 p.m.; William Kleedehn, Carcross, Yukon, 4:03 p.m.; David Monson, Fairbanks, 4:05 p.m.
Into Carmacks -- Bill Steyer, Fairbanks, 3:45 p.m.; Carrie Farr, Nenana, 4:55 p.m.
Out of Pelly Crossing -- Shannon Brockman, Nenana, 7:25 a.m.; Christopher Knott, Fairbanks, 7:27 a.m.; Rick Mackey, Nenana, 7:27 a.m.; Hugh Neff, Coldfoot, 7:27 a.m.; Tim Osmar, Ninilchik, 7:29 a.m.; David Sawatzky, Healy, 9:46 a.m.
Into Pelly Crossing -- Kelley Griffin, Wasilla, 4:55 p.m.; Jim Hendrick, Denali Park, 5:10 p.m.; Diana Moroney, Chugiak, 6:29 p.m.; Chad Nordlum, Kotzebue, 6:49 p.m.
Out of Stewart River -- Doug Grilliot, Willow, 7:30 p.m. Monday; Darrin Lee, Nenana, 4:15 a.m.; Jamie Nelson, Togo, Minn., 6:30 a.m.; Bruno Baureis, Gakona, 7 a.m.; Bill Pinkham, Glenwood Springs, Colo., 10:25 a.m.; Suzan Amundsen, Fairbanks, 12:05 p.m.; Braden Bennett, Whitehorse, Yukon, 2:02 p.m.; Keli Mahoney, Talkeetna, 2:50 p.m.; Tom Benson, Ely, Minn., 4:47 p.m.; Wayne Hall, Eagle, 7:47 p.m.
Scratched -- Deborah Bicknell, Juneau; Terry Asbury, Healy; Peter Ledwidge, Dawson, Yukon; Frank Turner, Whitehorse, Yukon; Larry Carroll, Willow; George Carroll, Two Rivers; Connie Frerichs, Delta Junction; Marcelle Fressineau, Quebec; Jack Berry, Salcha; Diane Allen, Whitehorse, Yukon; David Dalton, Fairbanks; Dan Kaduce, Chatanika; Adam Grant, Willow.