Foggy
57°
Foggy
Hi 80° | Lo 57°

Mackey Leads Alaska’s Iditarod

  • People from the Athabaskan village of Nikolai, Alaska, take a look at the Iditarod sled dog teams parked on the banks of the Kuskokwim River on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News)

    People from the Athabaskan village of Nikolai, Alaska, take a look at the Iditarod sled dog teams parked on the banks of the Kuskokwim River on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News)

  • People from the Athabaskan village of Nikolai, Alaska, take a look at the Iditarod sled dog teams parked on the banks of the Kuskokwim River on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News)

    People from the Athabaskan village of Nikolai, Alaska, take a look at the Iditarod sled dog teams parked on the banks of the Kuskokwim River on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News)

  • Veteran Iditarod musher Kelley Griffin of Wasilla leaves the Athabaskan village of Nikolai, Alaska, on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.  (AP Photo/Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News)

    Veteran Iditarod musher Kelley Griffin of Wasilla leaves the Athabaskan village of Nikolai, Alaska, on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News)

  • Veteran Iditarod musher Kelley Griffin of Wasilla leaves the Athabaskan village of Nikolai, Alaska, on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.  (AP Photo/Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News)

    Veteran Iditarod musher Kelley Griffin of Wasilla leaves the Athabaskan village of Nikolai, Alaska, on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News)

  • Four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser leaves the Rohn checkpoint in Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)

    Four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser leaves the Rohn checkpoint in Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)

  • Four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser leaves the Rohn checkpoint in Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)

    Four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser leaves the Rohn checkpoint in Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)

  • Angie Taggart tends to Carmack at the Rohn checkpoint in Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)

    Angie Taggart tends to Carmack at the Rohn checkpoint in Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)

  • Angie Taggart tends to Carmack at the Rohn checkpoint in Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)

    Angie Taggart tends to Carmack at the Rohn checkpoint in Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)

  • People from the Athabaskan village of Nikolai, Alaska, take a look at the Iditarod sled dog teams parked on the banks of the Kuskokwim River on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News)
  • People from the Athabaskan village of Nikolai, Alaska, take a look at the Iditarod sled dog teams parked on the banks of the Kuskokwim River on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News)
  • Veteran Iditarod musher Kelley Griffin of Wasilla leaves the Athabaskan village of Nikolai, Alaska, on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.  (AP Photo/Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News)
  • Veteran Iditarod musher Kelley Griffin of Wasilla leaves the Athabaskan village of Nikolai, Alaska, on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.  (AP Photo/Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News)
  • Four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser leaves the Rohn checkpoint in Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)
  • Four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser leaves the Rohn checkpoint in Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)
  • Angie Taggart tends to Carmack at the Rohn checkpoint in Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)
  • Angie Taggart tends to Carmack at the Rohn checkpoint in Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)

Ophir, Alaska — Four-time consecutive winner of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Lance Mackey is leading the 1,000-mile race to Nome.

Mackey pulled into the checkpoint at Ophir, Alaska, at 5:30 a.m. yesterday and stayed for 15 minutes before getting his team back on the trail. He last won the race in 2010.

Musher Jake Berkowitz was in second place early Wednesday. Nicolas Petit was in third.

Many mushers rely on sponsors, part-time work and prizes from smaller races to maintain a passion being played out this week in the Iditarod.

No one who races sled dogs is going to get filthy rich anytime soon, even if they win the 1,000-mile race. The prize for winning the sport’s premier race is only $50,400 and a new truck. That doesn’t even cover the annual dog food bill for many competitive mushers, who keep dozens of dogs in professional kennels geared to breed the sturdiest, fastest runners.

Ophir was once the center of an important gold-mining district but now is a ghost town. From Ophir, mushers head 90 miles to another ghost town, the checkpoint at Iditarod.

Mushers are approaching the half-way mark in the race, which began Sunday in Willow with 65 teams. Two teams have scratched.