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The Latest: Iditarod champ denies giving dogs banned drugs

FILE – In this March 16, 2015, file photo, volunteers help raise the Iditarod finishers banner at the burled arch finish line in Nome, Alaska. Scores of mushers are demanding organizers of Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race identify a musher with several dogs that tested positive for a prohibited drug in this year’s race. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the Iditarod doping case (all times local):

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4:55 p.m.

Four-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey denies he administered banned drugs to his dogs in this year’s race, and he has withdrawn from the 2018 race in protest.

The Iditarod Trail Committee on Monday identified Seavey as the musher who had four dogs test positive for a banned opioid pain reliever after finishing the race last March in Nome.

Seavey in video posted to his Facebook page says he fully expects the Iditarod Trail Committee to ban him from the race for speaking out. There’s a so-called gag rule preventing mushers from making statements critical of the race or sponsors.

Seavey says in the video he has “done absolutely nothing wrong,” and adds he won’t be “thrown under the bus.”

The 30-year-old musher said he doesn’t care if he never races again, or makes another cent as a musher.

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4 p.m.

Iditarod officials identified four-time champion Dallas Seavey as the musher whose dogs tested positive for a banned substance.

The Iditarod Trail Committee met Monday in an emergency session and decided to release the musher’s identity after initially refusing on a lawyer’s advice.

The committee in a statement said it changed its decision due to the “level of unhealthy speculation involved in this matter.”

Officials say four dogs in Seavey’s team tested positive after the finish of this year’s race in Nome in March. The banned substance was an opioid pain reliever.

Calls to Seavey’s cellphone weren’t immediately returned.

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2:40 p.m.

Organizers of Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race are again defending their decision to withhold the identity of a competitor who had several dogs test positive for a prohibited drug in this year’s race.

Officials say in a statement that they were not satisfied they could prove intent on the musher’s part. So they modified a rule dealing with canine drug use that will go into effect for next year’s race.

Race organizers say their statement was sent Sunday to the Iditarod Official Finishers Club of current and past race mushers.

The club on Monday called on the musher to be named within 72 hours, saying 83 current and former competitors signed a statement making the demand.

Iditarod officials did not directly address the mushers’ demand.

Race officials said last week that several dogs had an opioid pain reliever in their systems after one musher’s sled dog team finished the race in March.

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11 a.m.

Scores of mushers are demanding that organizers of Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race identify a competitor who had several dogs test positive for a prohibited drug in this year’s race.

The Iditarod Official Finishers Club released a statement Monday signed by 83 current and former competitors who are calling for the musher to be named within 72 hours.

The demand came after the group held an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss how organizers of the nearly 1,000-mile race handled its first instance of dogs testing positive for a banned drug.

Race officials didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Monday. They said last week that several dogs had an opioid pain reliever in their systems after the team finished the race in March.

Officials have refused to identify the musher.

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