Mitch Seavey In Iditarod Lead, Aliy Zirkle Close

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NOME, Alaska (AP) - The 2004 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race champion, Mitch Seavey, is leading the race, but Aliy Zirkle, who finished second last year, is close behind as the race leaders prepare for a sprint to the finish line in Nome.

Seavey pulled into the checkpoint at White Mountain at 5:11 a.m. Tuesday, just 13 minutes ahead of Zirkle, whose team made the trip from the previous checkpoint in faster time.

Four-time champion Jeff King, who had been leading the race, was still on the trail and in third place with a team that had slowed considerably.

Mushers are required to rest their teams for eight hours in White Mountain. From there, the finish is just 77 miles away.

This year's winner is expected to reach Nome sometime Tuesday night.