FAIRBANKS-The 2014 Yukon Quest race leaders are down to about the last 200 miles of the 1,000-mile Quest journey. Also it's back-and-forth at the top today as defending champ Allen Moore had moved into the lead, only to be re-passed by Brent Sass through the Carmacks checkpoint.
But Moore leap frogged Sass again on their way towards Braeburn which is the last checkpoint before Takhini Hot Springs in Whitehorse. They are neck and neck heading to Braeburn where both mushers will take their last mandatory eight hour rest before a surely tight finish to Whitehorse.
Sass and Moore have distanced themselves from third place racer Hugh Neff after both blew through Pelly Crossing, barely pausing. Neff stopped and dropped dogs as he now will push on with a team of nine and a few hours behind the leaders. Cody Strathe and Matt Hall are out of the Scroggie Creek dog drop and head towards the Stepping Stone stop.
The winner of this year's Quest will receive $22,700. The runner-up will get $16,000. The third musher in gets $13,000. Whenever Sass completes the race he'll receive four ounces in gold since he was the first to Dawson. The gold is valued at $5,000.
Because the field is so small this year, the smallest ever, each musher who finishes will receive some of the purse.
Tony Angelo withdrew from the race 32 miles from Dawson City. 14 Mushers are left out of the the original 18. Those 14 have all made it Dawson or are out of Dawson and back on the trails.