Race officials from Alaska’s Iditarod sled dog race have accused four-time champion musher Dallas Seavey of administering an illegal substance to his dogs, according to NPR. Seavey placed second in the 2017 event behind his father, Mitch Seavey.
The race committee announced last week that four dogs from the same sled dog team tested positive for the drug Tramadol (which for humans, is used to treat pain) at the finish in Nome last March. Initially, the committee refused to release the name of the musher who led the team, but pressure from other finishers caused officials to out Seavey.
The 30-year-old released a 17-minute video to YouTube denying the charges. He speculates that someone else administered the drug to his dogs. “I believe that this was given to my dogs maliciously,” he said. “That is the most likely option.”
This is the first time the 1,000-mile race, which begins in Anchorage each March, has experienced a positive drug test. Officials began testing the top 20 teams in 1994. In 2017, the winner of the race received $75,000. Seavey, in second place, took home $62,775.
Seavey has not officially been prohibited from future participation, but he has withdrawn from 2018’s race, according to NPR. In the video, he said he fully expects to be banned.