The chase is on. About 20 miles separate the two mushers at the front of the Iditarod pack, who have more than 400 miles to run before reaching the burled arch in Nome.
The race has arrived at the Yukon River, and Eureka musher Brent Sass is blasting through checkpoints, opting instead to rest his dog team along the trail. In Ruby early this morning, he could've sat down to a five-course gourmet meal with an "after-dinner mint" of $3,500 in $1 bills — his reward for being the first to reach the Yukon — but decided to keep running instead. (He'll collect later.)
The next closest competitor is defending champion Dallas Seavey, who told Iditarod Insider at the Cripple checkpoint that his dogs were running slower than he planned. Here's more on how Sass and Seavey's race strategies are shaping up.
In the meantime, there's a pileup of mushers in Ruby who are waiting for their chance to take the lead. As the race winds along the Yukon and approaches the Norton Sound coast, we'll be in a position to catch up with teams coming into Unalakleet.