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Published March 09, 2013, 04:08 PM

Iditarod front-runner hopes to claim 5th win

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Four-time champion Martin Buser holds the lead in Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, hoping to be only the second musher to ever claim a fifth title in the race's 40-year-history.

By: RACHEL D'ORO,Associated Press, Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Four-time champion Martin Buser holds the lead in Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, hoping to be only the second musher to ever claim a fifth title in the race's 40-year-history.

But plenty of competitors are hot in pursuit in the 1,000-mile race.

Buser, of Big Lake, was first out of the checkpoint at Eagle Island. Buser dropped two dogs there and left with 11 dogs at 2:41 a.m. Saturday to begin the 60-mile run to the next checkpoint at Kaltag.

Last year's runner-up, Aliy Zirkle, left Eagle Island with 13 dogs more than three hours later. The Two Rivers veteran was followed 29 minutes later by 2004 winner Mitch Seavey of Seward and his 12-dog team.

The front-runners are expected to reach the Nome finish line early next week.

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