Four-time champion Jeff King, a veteran of 21 previous Iditarods, and rookie Josh Cadzow of Fort Yukon joined the list of mushers who are out of the race, scratching Sunday afternoon in Unalakleet.
King, 55, had 13 dogs in his team when he decided to call it quits. ace marshal Mark Nordman said his dogs quit on him about 11 miles out of Unalakleet. King was in sixth place when he left Kaltag on the 85-mile run to Unalakleet.
Cadzow, 23, scratched in Kaltag with nine dogs still running. He said his dogs weren't enjoying the trip and scratching was in their best interest, according to race officials.
After going the first couple of days with no scratches, the trail is starting to take a toll on the field of 66, which is now down to 57. Of the nine who have dropped out of the race, five quit on Sunday.
The other big departure Sunday was that of Big Lake musher Jake Berkowitz, 25. Berkowitz was withdrawn by race officials when he badly cut his hand with a knife.
Berkowitz was on the trail to Unalakleet when he was injured, but he mushed on and was the sixth musher into the checkpoints, arriving with a strong team of 14 dogs.
Berkowitz was running as part of a swift three-man pack that also included Pete Kaiser and Ray Redington Jr. On Saturday and Sunday, those three registered some of the race's fastest run-times.
Meanwhile, Pat Moon scratched in Ruby on Sunday afternoon, his team down to seven dogs and decided he didn't have enough animals to continue to Nome, race officials said. Moon, who also scratched in 2010, started the race with just 12 dogs.
Also scratching on Sunday was Lachlan Clarke of Buena Vista, Colo. Down to eight dogs, he scratched for the same reason as Moon. Clarke recorded his best finish in seven Iditarods last year, placing 32nd.
For Moon, who is 35 and battling cancer, the race ended before he made it to Unalakleet, his training grounds this winter. Moon's team included some dogs that belonged to Unalakleet musher Paul Johnson, who had plans to run this year's race but died in October.
The scratches by King, Cadzow Moon and Clarke brings to eight the number of mushers who have scratched. Berkowitz is the only musher who has been withdrawn.
A withdrawal is different from a scratch. A withdrawal is a decision made by race officials, while a scratch is a decision made by the musher.