By MARK THIESSEN
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — One of the highlights for mushers in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is a gourmet meal given to the first one to reach the Yukon River. This year, Brent Sass earned the five-course meal prepared by a chef flown in from Anchorage. But Sass politely declined the meal that included seared beef tenderloin and reindeer minestrone in order to get back on the trail. Sass is seeking his first championship and is being pushed by five-time champion Dallas Seavey, who was in second place. Sass later Friday was the first musher to reach the next checkpoint, in Galena. The winner of the nearly 1,000-mile trek across untamed Alaska is expected in Nome sometime next week.