For Lance Mackey, prospects of winning a fifth consecutive Iditarod sled-dog race are becoming increasingly slim. He pulled into the halfway point Thursday with only 10 dogs, having left six at previous checkpoints because of concerns for their health.
Mackey as of Thursday afternoon was listed in sixth place, but realistically he was in third because three of the top six -- including the top two competitors -- had not yet taken their mandatory 24-hour rest period. The top six were Trent Herbst, Kelley Griffin, Martin Buser, Hugh Neff, Cim Smyth and Mackey. Herbst, Griffin and Smyth still have to take a 24-hour rest and will be passed by several mushers.
That essentially makes it a Buser, Neff and Mackey battle at this point during the 1,131-mile race from Anchorage to Nome. Buser, however, still has 14 dogs, and Neff has 13. To see and hear Mackey talk about his diminishing chances of winning for a fifth time and adding to his legend -- it was shot when he still had 12 dogs -- check out the video: