The Iditarod’s first foray into gambling resulted in modest success and a $2,240 prize for the New Jersey man who won the contest.
The Iditarod trifecta — a game of skill, according to the race — drew 560 entries. At $10 a pop, the entries raised a purse of $5,600 divided between the winner (40%), the race itself (40%) and the top 20 finishers (20%). The top 20 will share a $1,120 piece of the pie.
Dean Pflaum of New Jersey was one of two people who picked Norway’s Thomas Waerner to win. According to a press release from the Iditarod, Pflaum said his Norwegian heritage inspired him to pick Waerner.
Perhaps most impressively, Pflaum predicted a winning time of 9 days, 10 hours, 11 minutes, 12 seconds — 26 minutes off Waerner’s actual time of 9 days, 10 hours, 37 minutes and 47 seconds.
The other person who picked Waerner missed the winning time by seven hours, the Iditarod reported.
The contest asked people to predict three things — the winner, the winning time and the number of dogs in harness at the finish. The number of dogs is a tiebreaker that wasn’t needed this year.
The mushers picked the most often were 2019 champion Peter Kaiser, 2018 champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom, perennial contenders Aliy Zirkle and Nicolas Petit and three-time champion Mitch Seavey, who was this year’s runner-up.