Defending champion Sass scratches from Iditarod

Defending champion Sass scratches from Iditarod
Published: Mar. 11, 2023 at 9:16 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The reigning champion of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has scratched from this year’s race.

According to a press release from the Iditarod Trail Committee, Brent Sass scratched at the Eagle Island checkpoint at 7:42 a.m. Saturday. The press release stated Sass, “didn’t feel he could care for his team due to current concerns with his periodontal health.”

Sass, who won his first Iditarod in 2022, was leading the race and on his way to potential back-to-back titles when he arrived at Eagle Island at 9:38 p.m. Friday.

Sass said earlier in the week he wasn’t feeling well prior to taking his 24-hour layover in Ophir.

“I was feeling pretty crappy for a while but the 24 really turned me around which was good because I was pretty beat when I got to Ophir,” Sass said in Iditarod on Thursday.

Pete Kaiser now becomes the lone remaining past Iditarod champion in the race, while Jessie Holmes, who placed third in 2022, is currently leading the race as of 9:23 a.m. Saturday.

Sass arrived in Eagle Island with 11 healthy dogs in harness.