A veteran race dog on the team of Iditarod champion Lance Mackey was seriously injured in the All-Alaska Sweepstakes when a snowmobile ran into Mackey's team Friday.
After the race, Mackey broke down in tears Saturday telling how his dog, Zorro, was injured as the animal rode in the sled's basket.
Mackey was in third place in the Sweepstakes – which carries the riches prize in Alaska sled dog racing -- when two snowmobiles came up from behind around midnight Friday just 20 miles from the finish line.
By midday Saturday, Zorro was on a commercial flight to Pet Emergency, a veterinarian facility in Anchorage, for medical treatment. Zorro had broken ribs and perhaps internal injuries.
"If he lives, I don't think he is going to want to race to Nome again," Mackey said. Several other dogs had injuries, but they were not life threatening, Mackey said.
The 9-year-old injured dog was a star in the teams that won Alaska's two major long-distance races the last two years. Last year, Zorro became ill at White Mountain near the end of the Iditarod and did not get to finish the race.
Zorro is also the kennel's stud dog. If he dies, Mackey said, his future in sled dog racing is uncertain.
Mitch Seavey, of Seward, won the 408 race from Nome to tiny Candle and claimed the $100,000 top prize.
To read the Associated Press coverage, click here.