4-time champion Jeff King takes lead in Iditarod

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(Photo credit: Iditarod.com)

(Photo credit: Iditarod.com)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Another former champion has taken the lead in 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Four-time winner Jeff King was the first musher into the Koyuk checkpoint, about 170 miles from the Nome finish line. The 57-year-old veteran pulled into Koyuk at 8:17 a.m. Monday, leaving just six minutes later.

Mitch Seavey, who won the race in 2004, had been leading since Sunday and beat King to Koyuk by 34 minutes.

Third into Koyuk was last year’s runner-up, Aliy Zirkle, who clocked in at 9:28 a.m. Monday.

The race began March 2 with 66 teams at a ceremonial start in Anchorage. The competitive start began Sunday in Willow.

Five mushers have scratched. A sixth, Canadian Gerry Willomitzer, was withdrawn Sunday after losing a dog that was later found.

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