Iditarod denies Hugh Neff's entry in 2019 race
Already out of the 2019 Yukon Quest in February, veteran musher Hugh Neff will now miss the Iditarod a month later.
The Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC) issued a statement on Wednesday denying his application to compete. The 13-time finisher received the ruling from the Qualifying Review Board (QRB), stemming from its concern over his dog's death in the 2018 Yukon Quest.
In the spring, the Yukon Quest banned him from 2019 competition. Neff appealed to the board to no avail after 5-year-old Boppy died from aspiration pneumonia during the race.
KTVA reached Neff by phone, but he declined to comment.
Friend and fellow musher Paul Gebhardt was not surprised by the ITC's ruling.
"I expected that because of the Yukon Quest coming down on him like they did," said Gebhardt, a former ITC board member. "Typically, the races tend to follow each other's leads that way. If they have a good reason to deny you, typically, the rest of the racers will follow suit like that."
Gebhardt has raced alongside Neff. He added that there are sometimes other contributing factors to consider when dealing with animals, but people may not always see that side.
Neff also must run the smaller 300-mile Yukon race before resetting his sights there.
While the musher will miss the races, his dogs won't. On social media, he added his dogs will be running with two different teams.
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