The Latest: Fourth dog associated with Iditarod dies
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) The Latest on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race (all times local):
A fourth dog associated with this year's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has died.
Race marshal Mark Nordman says in a release that a 4-year-old male named Flash collapsed and died while it was running with Kotzebue musher Katherine Keith's team about 10 miles outside the checkpoint in Koyuk.
Three other dogs have also died since the race started March 6 in Fairbanks, including one on a team belonging to Keith's partner, former champion John Baker of Kotzebue.
The dog had been dropped from Baker's team and returned to Anchorage. Iditarod officials released the dog to a handler Saturday, and the dog got loose later that night from the handler's home. The body was found Sunday in Anchorage, and it appeared it had been hit by a car.
Two dogs died last week, including one that was being flown back to Anchorage from a checkpoint. A necropsy showed signs that the dog suffered from hyperthermia, but further tests were being conducted.
The other dog died near the checkpoint in Galena. A necropsy found abnormalities but not the cause of death.
A two-time Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race champion has a commanding lead in this year's race.
Mitch Seavey was the first musher to complete a mandatory eight-hour rest and leave the checkpoint in White Mountain on Tuesday morning. He has about a two-hour lead on his nearest competitor - his son and defending champion Dallas Seavey.
White Mountain is 77 miles from the end of the race, and Mitch Seavey could reach the burled arch finish line in Nome as early as Tuesday afternoon.
At 57, he would become the oldest musher to ever win the grueling, nearly thousand-mile race across Alaska. He would beat the record he set when he won the race at age 53 in 2013. He also won the Iditarod in 2004.