Chestnut Big Favorite Against Stonie In Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

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It is less a question of how but how many with Joey (Jaws) Chestnut and the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, which Major League Eating’s top-ranked carnivore has won nine of the last 10 years.

The traditional July 4 contest takes place in Coney Island, New York, on Tuesday, with Chestnut listed at -350 against Matt Stonie (+225) at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Stonie is the only person to beat Chestnut over the last 10 years. In an undercard prop, up-and-coming Carmen Cincotti (-200) is favored head-to-head against Geoffrey Esper (+150).

With Chestnut coming up short on price, there might be more value in the various over/under totals. Chestnut owns the record of 73.5 hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes (set in a 2016 qualifier.  The over on whether the men’s champion will eat 71.5 is a fairly plump, juicy +225. The most even total is 67.5, with the over at -150 and the under at +110.

At the other end of the totals spectrum, the men’s champion eating fewer than 63.5 hot dogs pays +275. In both 2014 and 2015, the winner was below that benchmark.

Cincotti’s personal best on the Major League Eating circuit is 42 hot dogs. Esper has eaten as many at 30.5 in an MLE competition.

On the women’s side, three-time defending champion Miki Sudo is listed at -400 against +250 underdog Sonya Thomas. Sudo won last year with 38.5 and has set her sights on Thomas’ all-time record of 45, set in 2012.

Reaching that would also put bettors over on the over/under of 39.5 dogs, which hasn’t been surpassed since Thomas’ aforementioned 2012 performance. The under pays -160, with the over at +120. Thomas has told the media that her best days are behind her, so if anyone’s going over it’s likely Sudo.

There are also some fun props, including +750 on an eat-off being required (it’s happened just once since the 10-minute time limit was introduced) and a special on whether a contestant will be interrupted by a protester from PETA. Yes pays +500, to No’s -900.

Alaskan Native Pete Kaiser wins Iditarod sled dog race

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) Pete Kaiser won the Iditarod early Wednesday, throwing his arms over his head and pumping his fists as he became the latest Alaska Native to claim victory in the iconic sled dog race.

Kaiser, 31, crossed the finish line in Nome after beating back a challenge from the defending champion, Norwegian musher Joar Ulsom.

Crowds cheered and clapped as Kaiser came off the Bering Sea ice and mushed down Nome’s main street to the famed burled arch finish line. His wife and children greeted him, hugging him at the conclusion of the 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) race, which began March 3 north of Anchorage.

Kaiser, who is Yupik, is from the southwest Alaska community of Bethel. A large contingent of Bethel residents flew to Nome to witness his victory. Alaska Native dancers and drummers performed near the finish line as they waited for Kaiser to arrive.

Kaiser will receive $50,000 and a new pickup truck for the victory. Four other Alaska Native mushers have won the race, including John Baker, an Inupiaq from Kotzebue, in 2011.

This year’s race was marked by the stunning collapse of Frenchman Nicolas Petit, who was seemingly headed for victory as late as Monday.

Petit, a native of France living in Alaska, had a five-hour lead and was cruising until his dog team stopped running between the Shaktoolik and Koyuk checkpoints.

Petit said one dog was picking on another during a rest break, and he yelled at the dog to knock it off. At that point, the entire team refused to run.

Petit had to withdraw, and the dog team had to be taken back to the previous checkpoint by snowmobile.

Fifty-two mushers began the race in Willow. Petit was among 10 racers who withdrew during the race.

The race took mushers and their dog teams over two mountain ranges, along the frozen Yukon River and then across the treacherous, wind-swept Bering Sea coast to the finish line in Nome.

This year’s race came during a bruising two-year stretch for the Iditarod that included a dog doping scandal and the loss of national sponsors amid protests by animal rights activists.

French musher was leading Iditarod, but then his dogs quit

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) Musher Nicolas Petit lost a huge lead in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Monday when his dog team refused to keep going after he yelled at one of the animals.

A dog named Joey had been fighting with another dog on the team and jumped it during a break on the way to the Bering Sea checkpoint of Koyuk.

“I yelled at Joey, and everybody heard the yelling, and that doesn’t happen,” Petit told the Iditarod Insider website. “And then they wouldn’t go anymore. Anywhere. So we camped here.”

Several mushers passed Petit’s team on the trail, erasing his five-hour lead in the race. Pete Kaiser of Alaska was the first musher into Koyuk, followed 11 minutes later by defending champion Joar Ulsom of Norway.

The checkpoint is 827 miles (1,330 kilometers) into the 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) race across Alaska.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a frequent critic of the race, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment Monday.

Petit said his dogs are well-fed and there’s no medical issue keeping them from getting up and running.

“It’s just a head thing,” he said. “We’ll see if one of these dog teams coming by will wake them up at all.”

For Petit, it’s another bad memory from the stretch between the Shaktoolik and Koyuk checkpoints.

He was in command of last year’s race when he got off trail during a blizzard and lost the lead. He wound up finishing second behind Ulsom.

“Something about right here, huh?” he mused.

The race started March 2 in Willow, just north of Anchorage. The course through the Alaska wilderness took mushers over two mountain ranges and the frozen Yukon River before they reached the treacherous Bering Sea coast.

The winner is expected to come off the sea ice and mush down Nome’s main street to the finish line sometime in the middle of the week.