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BC-US--Iditarod,2nd Ld-Writethru, US

March 11, 2019
Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — There’s a new leader in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race after the dogs on musher Nicolas Petit’s team quit on him.

Alaska musher Pete Kaiser passed Petit and was the first musher to reach the checkpoint in Koyuk Monday. Koyuk is 827 miles (1,331 kilometers) into the 1,000 mile (1,600 kilometer) race across Alaska.

Petit held a five-hour advantage after Sunday. He told the Iditarod Insider that he yelled at two dogs who were fighting, and the team wouldn’t move after that.

He said the dogs ate well, and there’s no orthopedic issues. He says of his dogs: “It’s just a head thing.”

Petit’s team quit running at about the same point he gave up the lead in last year’s race, when he lost the trail in a blizzard.