Front-runner aiming for fifth victory


ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Four-time champion Martin Buser held on to the lead Saturday in Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, hoping to be only the second musher to ever claim a fifth title in the race’s 40-year-history.

But plenty of competitors were hot in pursuit in the 1,000-mile race and gaining on the 54-year-old veteran from Big Lake, Alaska. Teams have been traveling in deep snow followed by deep overflows in a trail deteriorated by above-freezing temperatures. Some stretches also were marked by glare ice.

On the seventh day of the race, Buser was first out of the checkpoint at Eagle Island. Buser dropped two dogs there and left with 11 dogs at 2:41 a.m.