Nic Petit wins Willow 300 and fourth straight race

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WILLOW, Alaska (KTUU) - In an ominous sign for his Iditarod competitors, Nic Petit has won his fourth straight mid-distance sled dog race of the season. Petit took out the Willow 300 in front of Two Rivers 200 champion Will Rhodes and Iditarod veteran Travis Beals.

Petit pulled into Sheep Creek Lodge around 8:30 a.m. with Rhodes finishing an hour later and Beals pulling in eight minutes after that. Petit is the reigning champion of the Willow 300 after winning the race's inaugural run in 2017.

The race began Thursday afternoon on Willow Lake with a mass start; all the dog teams lined up next to one another and started at exactly the same time. That form of start is different to Iditarod where mushers launch from a chute at two minute intervals.

The race then headed north toward Trapper Creek before looping back down to Amber Lake and then finishing at Sheep Creek Lodge. Iditarod veteran DeeDee Jonrowe scratched from the race after an accident saw her sled's frame bent and ruined. Her dogs were said to be uninjured.