Two-time champion Hugh Neff pulled out of the Yukon Quest on Friday night after one of his dogs died on the trail.
Boppy, a 5-year-old male, died on the trail while Neff was en route to Dawson City, the halfway point of the 1,000-mile race from Fairbanks to Whitehorse. A preliminary necropsy said the cause of death was aspiration, according to a news release from the Quest.
According to a report from CBC news of Canada, Neff contacted race officials before the dog died to say he planned to scratch once he reached Dawson.
Race marshal Doug Harris says Neff notified race officials Thursday that he planned to scratch once he reached Dawson City.
"He just said that he was running a young team of dogs and they weren't having any fun," race marshal Doug Harris said in the CBC report. "It was very cold, and he just thought it would be best for his team."
The next morning, Neff contacted officials again to say Boppy had died, the CBC said.
Allen Moore continues to lead the race, which started on Saturday, Feb. 3, in Fairbanks. As of Saturday night, he had left Stepping Stone on his way to Pelly Crossing.
Neff is the eighth racer to scratch from the race. Sixteen mushers remain on the trail.