Look who's leading the Yukon Quest.
Four-time champions Lance Mackey grabbed a narrow lead Tuesday in the 1,000-mile sled dog race between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, Yukon.
Mackey was the first musher in and the musher out of Eagle, the final checkpoint in Alaska. On his 100-mile run from Slaven's Roadhouse to Eagle, Mackey passed five teams, including Hugh Neff and Brent Sass, the leaders out of Slaven's on Monday night.
Mackey, 41, is running few of the veteran dogs who helped turn him into a mushing legend with four straight Quest victories and four straight Iditarod victories, including his so-called IditaQuest double victories in 2007 and 2008 -- a feat no other musher has accomplished once, much less twice.
He has dropped two dogs since the race began Saturday in Fairbanks and left Eagle with 12 in harness.
"I'm always pretty confident in what I'm driving and this year has been a little sketchy because I got a bunch of young dogs," Mackey told KUAC radio reporter Emily Schwing. "I want it to end on a positive note. If they have to go home, I want it to be positive. I don't want (them) to get tired (and) wobbly, and then they're falling over and I have to put (them) in the sled. There's nothing beneficial about that."
Mackey reached Eagle at 2:08 p.m. Tuesday, one minute ahead of Neff. Allen Moore was third, arriving at 2:40 p.m., with Sass showing up 10 minutes later at 2:50 p.m.
Mushers must take a four-hour layover at Eagle, and the leaders stuck around for a few additional minutes before Mackey hit the trail at 6:35 p.m.
Neff gave chase at 6:37, followed by Moore at 6:45 p.m.
From Eagle, teams go 18 miles to the top of American Summit. They follow the Taylor Highway to the Fortymile River valley and the historic Yukon townsite of Fortymile, which is 50 miles from the halfway point in Dawson City. The total run from Eagle to Dawson is 147 miles.
Elsewhere on the trail Tuesday, Fort Yukon musher Josh Cadzow claimed his second victory in the YQ300, a 300-mile companion race that started Saturday afternoon in Fairbanks and ended in Central.
Cadzow, 24, arrived at the finish line at 5:35 a.m. Tuesday with seven dogs in harness. A little more than four hours later, at 9:38 a.m., Rob Cooke of Dawson City arrived to grab second place, followed closely by Eva Lindner of Two Rivers at 9:55.
According to a report on the Quest's website, Cadzow used the race as a training run for his Iditarod debut next month.
"I was just testing the new dogs, and the younger ones," he said. "They did good. I found some great dogs, one good leader... One dog stepped up to lead, and a lot of the younger ones just couldn't hang with the older dogs, so I learned that for the Iditarod. I just learned my dogs a little more."
Cadzow won the 2008 YK300 and placed seventh in the 2010 Yukon Quest.
Out of Eagle -- Lance Mackey 6:35 p.m. Tuesday, Hugh Neff 6:37 p.m., Allen Moore 6:45 p.m.
Into Eagle -- Brent Sass 2:50 p.m. Tuesday, Jake Berkowitz 4:35 p.m., Abbie West 5 p.m., Sonny Lindner 5:23 p.m., Kristy Berington 7:20 p.m.; Joar Leifseth-Ulsom 9:18 p.m.; David Dalton 9:30 p.m.
Out of Slaven's Roadhouse -- Kyla Durham 10:28 a.m., Paige Drobny 3:41 p.m., Yuka Honda 3:50 p.m., Gus Guenther 4:46 p.m.
Into Slaven's Roadhouse -- Trent Herbst 9:36 a.m. Tuesday, Brian Wilmshurst 4:37 p.m., Misha Pedersen 5:39 p.m.; Marcelle Fressineau 6:01 p.m.; Michael Telpin 8:50 p.m.
Out of Circle City -- Nikolay Ettyne 9 a.m.
Central finish line -- Josh Cadzow, 5:35 a.m. Tuesday; Rob Cooke, 9:38 a.m.; Eva Lindner 9:55 a.m.; Luan Marques 7:15 p.m.Photos: Yukon Quest
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Anchorage Daily News / adn.com