Some mushers are beginning to cross into the Yukon from Alaska. (Julien Schroder/Yukon Quest)

Yukon Quest leader Allen Moore crosses border, Good wins 300

20 mushers remain in 1,000-mile race

The Yukon Quest continues and the first musher has crossed the border into the Yukon from Alaska.

Leader Allen Moore reached Clinton Creek just before 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 7.

Clinton Creek is approximately 60 miles from Dawson, where mushers will have a mandatory 36-hour layover.

Paige Drobny and Matt Hall are running in second and third respectively.

Ed Hopkins is the top Canadian, currently in sixth position approximately 17 miles past Eagle.

The majority of the mushers are either resting in Eagle or on the trail to Clinton Creek.

The field for the 1,000-mile race is down to just 20.

Ike Underwood scratched on Feb. 5 approximately 23 miles from the Circle checkpoint for his own safety and the safety of his team.

Mark Stamm also scratched on Feb. 5 citing the health and well-being of his team.

Christine Roalofs scratched in Circle out of concern for her ability to care for her team due to personal injury.

Ryne Olson was also forced to scratch from the race.

The Yukon Quest 300 ended in dramatic fashion on Feb. 5 as Ben Good passed Joanna Jagow on the home stretch and finished just two minutes ahead.

Jagow had some difficulty after dropping her preferred lead dogs in Circle and using a single lead on the return to Central.

“When I came up on [Jagow], I was surprised that she was camped out because I had a feeling that she was going to try to run it the whole way through,” said Good. “It sounded like she had some leaders stall out on her.”

Good said his team benefited from the experience of running the 1,000-mile race in years past. Nine of his 12 dogs ran the 2017 Quest, and seven of those dogs ran the same course as this year in 2016.

“You could tell at the checkpoints,” said Good. “They’d get about 10 miles out and recognize where they were. They’d get perked up and I’d get a lot of energy out of them.”

The strategy was to run from checkpoint to checkpoint, and Good said the 300 is a faster race but doesn’t have as much rest built in.

“In this race, you have to be able to do some longer runs to do that, so the dogs have to be ready for that,” said Good. “The training from running the full 1,000 miles sets them up mentally to do that.”

Good started the race with 12 dogs, but dropped one two-year-old in Central who appeared to have a sore wrist.

He dropped another two-year-old in Circle.

“I felt like he probably could have finished it, but he looked a little sore,” said Good.

His MVD, or most valuable dog, was a four-year-old named Poppy who previously stepped in to lead the last 700 miles of the Quest in 2017.

“She was dragging the team wherever I asked her to go,” said Good. “She was kind of the star of the show this year.”

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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