2004 Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey takes lead

Friday , March 09, 2012 - 2:45 PM

The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Mitch Seavey is the first musher in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to reach the village of Ruby, 480 miles from the finish line at Nome.

Seavey is the 2004 Iditarod champion and acknowledges he is eager for another Iditarod victory. His race was ruined last year when he nearly severed a finger opening a bale of bedding straw for his dogs. He showed up at this year's race with a prediction: Seavey said he was going to win.

He arrived at Ruby at 6 a.m. Alaska time Friday. Aliy Zirkle is in second and defending champion John Baker is in third. Seavey's son, Dallas, is in fourth place.

Sixty-six mushers began the race Sunday. Three mushers have scratched with the leaders more than halfway through the race.

Get the Standard-Examiner Advantage.