In 1985, Libby Riddles became the first woman to win the race. Susan Butcher then won four of the next five.

But, to date, those are the only five victories by women.

There have been close calls over the years. DeeDee Jonrowe was twice a runner-up and Aliy Zirkle has three second-place finishes.

Female mushers had another great showing in 2017.

Jessie Royer came in fifth, Aliy Zirkle came in eighth, Michelle Phillips came in thirteenth and Katherine Keith finished in nineteenth place. 

All four of these ladies are back this year.

Zirkle has high hopes heading into this race. She’ll run a group of dogs which just won the Yukon Quest with her husband Allen Moore last month. 

“It’s a fantastic group of dogs,” Zirkle said at the Musher's Banquet Thursday in Anchorage. “I’m feeling the love from the dogs, from Alaska, from the people. It’s pretty exciting."

Zirkle has started 17 Iditarods and finished every one. Now, she’d love to improve on a 5 - 40 mark.

Susan Butcher's 1990 was the last Iditarod win for a woman.

Perhaps this is the team to break that 28-year drought.

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More Iditarod coverage:

Iditarod 46: Live race blog 

The drive for 5 Iditarod titles 

Bearss Blog: Words of wisdom for rookies