Allen Moore has won the Yukon Quest International Sled dog Race for the second consecutive year. Moore’s team is known for its petite stature, perky ears and wagging tails and they didn’t disappoint. They jumped in harness and yelped after arriving at Takhini Hot Springs 30 miles outside of Whitehorse.
But Moore’s win is bittersweet. What was expected to be a foot race to the finish, turned into a solo run after Eureka Musher Brent Sass sustained a minor head injury Sunday morning, roughly 80 miles from the finish line. The accident was clearly difficult for Moore as he crossed the finish line.
“It would have been interesting, especially for the media if Brent hadn’t have gotten injured, because we would have been neck in neck all the way here.” The Two-Rivers musher choked up as he talked about the race. “We’d have probably both slid around the corner right there. So, anyway, he said probably next year.”
This is Moore’s fourth top-ten finish in as many years. He also had to catch his breath when asked about his lead dog, Quito. “Quito’s been in every one of our races and she’s always been in the lead. She’s just the best dog a person could have. The last four year’s she’s run back-to-back Quests and Iditarods in lead and I wish we had a lot more like her.”
Quito led the team in single lead for much of the race. When she wasn’t running alone, she was running next to a tri-colored leader named Scruggs. Moore says he plans to be back for the race, and he expects Quito and Scruggs are likely to run the Quest again next year. “Well, I would hope so. Until she tells us she doesn’t want to do it anymore, and she’s hasn’t said that yet and she’s just six or seven, one of the two.”
There are still 12 teams on the trail. They will continue to make their way toward the finish line throughout the week. The finish line was relocated 30 miles from downtown Whitehorse due to weak ice on the Yukon River and poor trail conditions. The change and the elimination of American Summit outside of Eagle shortened the total distance by roughly 50 miles.