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Solomon is my main stud. He’s five, large but proven by consistently running — and finishing — on top five teams in the Iditarod and Yukon Quest over the last three years. He’s been a key player on my 3rd-place Yukon Quest team in 2009, and went on to finish with Jeff King that same year. He also ran with King in 2008, on both the Iditarod and All Alaska Sweepstakes. This year, Sebastian Schnuelle had Solomon on his team. This is what he had to say…
“Solomon is one of the best sled dogs I have ever run. It is his drive which makes him so special. Even after the toughest 100 mile run, he is still lunging to go. Doing the EKG work before Iditarod, the first thing they asked me was: ‘This dog never gets tired, does he?’ His drive combined with his size of 76 lbs made him one of the key dogs in my team.”
Yes, he weighs in at 76 pounds, but the five-year-old runs so smoothly and eats so well and has never had a single injury. I’m also seriously impressed with his puppies. I split five litters with Jeff King a couple of years ago, and spent this past winter running them as a single team, with a couple of older leaders. They completed the Knik 200 and Tustumena 200 without a single one being dropped. They ran well, several ran in lead (one for 100 miles in the T200) and — like their father — ate like pigs.
Solomon’s assets are his attitude and his appetite.
For those interested in bloodlines, his ancestors have a lot of Bill Cotter’s seminal dog Baileys on both sides, many times over. And his grandfather is a dog named Doc, who is the father of Lance Mackey‘s legendary stud, Zorro.
He’s available to stud for $600. He’s back home with me now in Kasilof.
Another dog that I like is another guy with a lot of Doc in his bloodlines — my lead dog, Panther. Panther is about 60 pounds and is quieter by nature. He’s very willing to run in lead, and his grandmother (on both sides) is my favorite leader from a few years ago, a dog named Kazan, who was a sister to Doc.
Kazan was a hard-driving leader and Panther takes after her. He can be up front for hundreds of miles. His father was one of Mitch Seavey‘s dogs from the bloodline that is the core of Seavey’s racing kennel.
He ran for me in the 2003 Yukon Quest, and he ran the Quest and Iditarod back-to-back with Zack Steer this year. Steer used Panther in lead from the start of the Quest until Pelly, and Panther led for him in rotation during the Iditarod as well. Steer said Panther sped up his team, almost to a fault.
I have 10-month-old pups out of Panther and another dog of mine, Adidas (who ran Quest with Steer and Iditarod with King two years ago), and they’re looking just right and doing fine for their age.
Stud fee for Panther is $500.
If you want a pure athletic bloodline grafted into your kennel, and want dogs with high attitude, friendly dispositions and insane appetites, Solomon is a great risk. But if you want a hard-nosed leader with speed, who also produces easy going and like-able pups, Panther is a good bet. Solomon has the better appetite; Panther is a serious lead dog.
Reach me by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve got a new forum for my race blog, with my take on what’s happening in the Yukon Quest and Iditarod, and maybe even Denali Doubles. Here’s the link…
On Halloween, I tested the waters as a dog “driving instructor,” giving a one-on-one seminar on how to camp with a dog team. The class went so well that I’m considering opening it up to anyone interested in becoming more efficient or just gaining confidence in taking a trail break, whether inside or outside of checkpoints.
I sat down with the musher for two hours on the night of the 30th, going over what she knew and what she needed to learn. And the next day, she was on her own to pack her supplies (cooker, straw, booties, etc.), and head out on a training run to a spot where I could meet her. She set about doing all the routine dog duties while I watched and we talked about her routine. After a two-hour pitstop, she turned her team around and drove them back to her dog truck.
UPDATE — Change of plans. Most of my adult dogs are going to run with other teams in the Iditarod and Quest this year. I’m focusing my winter on some very promising yearlings, led by three or four older vets. More posts coming soon, since the season is now under way…
Contrary to popular belief, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race does not end when the nose of the first dog crosses the finish line. There’s 35 other teams out there still “racing” at that point.
Lance Mackey’s 15 dogs looked so good coming to the finish line that it was almost inconceivable that they’d just raced nearly 1,000 miles through some of harshest weather the Bering Sea coast can dish out.
The big poll has ended, since they’re starting to make their way onto the trail. Seavey already passed Burmeister in the first few miles, but mushers need to be careful in this run. If they go out too fast early, they can really slow down once they’ve passed Safety. It is an art.
And Unalakleet, and Kaltag, and Eagle Island and Grayling. Finally, They’re just about all moving again.
Young Dallas Seavey was among the first out of Shaktoolik this morning, accoring to the green blip that shows his movements on the Iditarod’s GPS tracker. My wife, Brandi, quickly guessed that Dallas, the dutiful son, was selflessly bringing food, straw and supplies to his father, Mitch, and to Aaron Burmeister, who’ve been parked almost 24 hours at the shelter cabin just 12 miles beyond Shaktoolik. She called Danny Seavey to find out. Danny laughed.
The 2009 Iditarod is getting curiouser and curiouser, and there suddenly is no certainty about who will win, or who’s vying for second or third. High wind and cold temperatures hammered front-running dog teams today, causing most of the top 10 to shut down much longer than they normally would. And in stranger places.