Nicolas Petit has scratched in 2019 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. 

Veteran musher Petit scratched at the Shaktoolik checkpoint at 7 p.m. Monday.

Petit scratched in the best interest of his race team’s mental well-being, according to a release from the Iditarod Trail Committee. Petit and his race team were brought back to Shaktoolik by snowmachine and trail sled for transport through Unalakleet and then on to Anchorage.

Petit had 10 dogs with him at the time he decided to scratch.

Petit was the first musher to leave Shaktoolik, but GPS tracking showed he stayed in the same area around mile 793 — resting off and on — since 10 p.m. Sunday. Peter Kaiser, bib No. 9, was shown to have passed Petit at 3:45 a.m. Monday while Petit was still shown as resting. Nine teams had passed Petit as of 5 p.m. Monday.

In an interview with Iditarod Insider, Petit said the dogs took off out of Shaktoolik "like a rocket" and then lost speed. He surmised that it was likely because they went to a cabin in the area last year. He said one dog jumped on another — the dog had been "picking on" the other during the race — and the whole team stopped after hearing Petit yelling at the two.

"Everybody heard Daddy yelling which doesn't happen and they wouldn't go anymore, anywhere," Petit said.

Petit waited for his dogs to move again, but appeared to begin moving back toward Shaktoolik at 5 p.m. Monday. 

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