- Associated Press - Sunday, March 2, 2014

FORT KENT, Maine (AP) - All 18 teams that set out on a grueling, 250-mile sled dog race across the wilderness of northern Maine remained on course Sunday.

Organizers of the Can-Am Crown race said Sunday that seven teams have a substantial lead and the five lead teams are packed within half an hour of one another.

Can-Am organization president Beurmond Banville said he expects the winner will cross the finish line in Fort Kent before dawn Monday.

No one had dropped out of the race by mid-day Sunday.

The mushers Sunday morning left a logging came on western Maine’s boundary with Quebec and were head for the Alligash Valley 50 miles away for a mandatory layover.

“It’s a very close race at this point,” Banville said. “There’s no clear-cut leader.”

Participants include the winner of the last two races, Ryan Anderson of Ray, Minn., along with three-time winner Don Hibbs of Millinocket, Maine, four-time winner Martin Masicotte of St. Tite, Quebec, and past winner Bruce Langmaid of Blackstock, Ontario.

The race is billed as the longest and highest-caliber race in the eastern United States. It is a qualifier Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Two Massachusetts mushers won the 30-mile and 60-mile Can-Am races.

Rico Portalatin of Westhampton, Mass. won the 60-mile race with a time of 5 hours, 53 minutes. Amy deWolski of Millbury, Mass. won the 30-mile leg with a time of 2 hours, 36 minutes.

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