Musher Wade Marrs of Willow, Alaska leads his team during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage, Alaska on Wednesday. Marrs, in a statement released by his kennel Tuesday, claims the head of the Iditarod's drug testing program, Dr. Morrie Craig, threatened to reveal his dogs tested positive for a banned substance. Marrs felt it was out of retaliation for the musher being vocal about how race officials have handled dog doping.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A native of France was clinging to the lead Saturday in Alaska’s 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, closely followed by the reigning champion and another top team.

Nicolas Petit was the first to leave the checkpoint at Grayling on Friday for the 122-mile stretch to the next checkpoint at the village of Kaltag.

Sled positioning trackers show Norwegian musher Joar UIsom and defending Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey jockeying for position Saturday as they closed in on Petit nearing Kaltag.

All three have completed mandatory eight-hour and 24-hour breaks in the race.

Poor weather Friday prevented small planes from delivering food to one of the four checkpoints on the Yukon River.

The race began last Sunday in Willow, Alaska, with 67 teams. Four have scratched.

The latest was Robert Redington, who withdrew from the race Saturday morning at the checkpoint in Shageluk (SHA’-guh-luk), saying it was in the best interest of his team.

Redington, of Willow, Alaska, is a grandson of late Iditarod co-founder Joe Redington Sr.

St. Helena native Jeff King was in 33rd place Saturday evening.

Racers are expected to reach Nome early next week.

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