The Latest: Iditarod dog disappears before ceremonial start in Alaska

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Alaskan musher Jim Lanier’s dog team is all smiles during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the ceremonial start of Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race (all times local):

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11:55 a.m.

A dog in Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race disappeared Saturday during preparations for the ceremonial start of the annual trek to Nome.

Anchorage television station KTUU reports the 2-year-old dog Hudson took off when the back doors of the musher’s trailer were open.

The disappearance happened about two hours before the ceremonial start began with mushers taking a short sprint with their teams along downtown Anchorage streets.

The musher, who lives in Skipvet, Norway, told the station Hudson had not been seen since.

The dog was last seen heading toward a nearby neighborhood in the downtown area.

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11:15 a.m.

Cheering fans lined the streets of Alaska’s largest city as mushers and their dogs took a short sprint through town Saturday for the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

The morning trek through downtown Anchorage gave fans a chance to get up close to the teams that will participate in the competitive portion of the 1,000-mile (1,609- kilometer) race that begins Sunday in the community of Willow to the north.

This year’s race comes amid a plethora of troubles for organizers, including a dog doping scandal, the loss of a major sponsor and increasing pressure from animal rights activists following the deaths of five dogs connected to last year’s race.

Sixty-seven teams are vying for a total purse of $500,000. Organizers say the winner’s share of the prize money will be determined later in the race.

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