FAIRBANKS, Alaska -

The Yukon Quest will have its smallest field ever this year, with just 18 mushers remaining for the 1,000-mile Fairbanks-to-Whitehorse sled dog race.

Yukon Quest Alaska Executive Director Marti Steury says late withdrawals had financial shortfalls or concerns about whether a team is healthy enough to make it to Whitehorse.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the previous record for smallest Yukon Quest field was 21 teams, in both 1996 and 2005. The biggest field was 48 entries in 1988, although not all of those entries ultimately ran the race.

The 2014 race will begin on Feb. 1 in downtown Fairbanks.

The purse for this year's Yukon Quest will be at least $115,000, an increase from the 2013 pot of $100,000. The top 15 mushers finish in the money.