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Moore edges Mackey, Neff for Yukon Quest halfway gold

Misha Pedersen and her dog team make their way up the frozen Yukon River after leaving the Circle City checkpoint Feb. 7, 2012, during the 2012 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. Mushers are traveling 1,000 miles between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, Yukon. SAM HARREL / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner via Associated Press

Allen Moore of Two Rivers won a three-man duel with Lance Mackey and Hugh Neff late Wednesday to become the first musher to reach the halfway point of the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.If Moore goes on to finish the race, he'll pocket four ounces of placer gold as a reward for leading the way into Dawson, Yukon.

He reached the historic Yukon River Gold Rush town at 11:32 p.m. Alaska time. Mackey, of Fairbanks, was 19 minutes behind (11:51 p.m.) and Neff, of Tok, was a little more than an hour back in third place (12:39 a.m.).

Moore, Mackey and Neff were separated by only 10 minutes when they left the previous checkpoint in Eagle around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Moore managed to put a gap of about one or two miles on his rivals during his 29-hour run across the Canadian border and into Dawson.

Jake Berkowitz of Big Lake put himself in the mix of things with a strong run from Eagle, reaching Dawson this morning at 2:04 Alaska time in fourth place. Brent Sass of Eureka followed two hours later.

Mushers will spend 36 hours in Dawson before resuming their 1,000-mile run to Whitehorse.

The race began Saturday in Fairbanks.

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Photos: Yukon Quest