The race is on: Rachel Alexandra vs. Zenyatta is scheduled for April 9.

One day after a matchup of racing's leading ladies fell apart, the owner of Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., worked out a compromise to match the champion females for the first time -- in the $5 million Apple Blossom Invitational on April 9.

"The race is a go," Oaklawn Park owner Charles Cella said. "This is truly a race for the ages."

The surprising turn of events came less than 24 hours after Rachel Alexandra's owner Jess Jackson said his filly was out of the 1 1/8-mile race because she would not be in peak condition by April 3. Cella said the final stroke was moving the Apple Blossom to April 9. He'd already said last week that he would raise the purse to $5 million from $500,000 if the fillies both ran.

GOLF

Johnson leads muddled event

Dustin Johnson got off to a good start as the defending champion of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am because of a phenomenal finish.

Johnson overpowered the par-5s at Pebble Beach and closed with five consecutive birdies, tying the tournament record with a 30 on the back nine. He finished with an 8-under 64 and was atop the leaderboard.

Charley Hoffman had a 6-under 64 on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula, the newcomer to a three-course rotation. The best round might have belonged to David Duval, who played bogey-free until the final hole for a 5-under 67 at Spyglass Hill, traditionally the toughest course of the bunch. The average score at Spyglass was 71.52, compared with 70.89 at Pebble Beach and 69.97 at Monterey Peninsula.

BOXING

Holyfield's wife claims abuse

Evander Holyfield's wife claims the boxing great hit her several times after an argument about her payments to their church, and she has received a temporary protective order against him.

Candi Holyfield, the boxer's third wife, said her 47-year-old husband hit her in the face, the back of the head and her back on the night of Feb. 1 after she refused to show him check stubs related to her donations to the church, according to Fayette County (Ga.) court records. He was concerned she was not giving to the church.

BASEBALL

Brewers case is first to arbitration

Outfielder Corey Hart became the first player on the Milwaukee Brewers to go to arbitration in 12 years and the first in major league baseball this season.

Hart asked a panel of arbitrators for a raise from $3.25 million to $4.8 million, and the Brewers argued for $4.15 million.

Hart hit .260 with 12 homers and 48 RBI last season.

Quinlan and Angels strike deal

Utility player Robb Quinlan returned to the Los Angeles Angels, agreeing to a minor league contract. The 32-year-old from Hill-Murray High School has spent four full seasons with the Angels and is the second-longest-tenured member of the team. He hit .243 with two homers and 14 RBI in 115 at-bats last year.

AROUND THE HORN

College football: Adam Griffin, son of two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, will follow his father and play football for Ohio State. The younger Griffin is a 185-pound running back, defensive back and return specialist from DeSales High School in Columbus, Ohio.

Cycling: Defending champion Tom Boonen of the Quick Step team won the fifth stage of the Tour of Qatar, and Dutch cyclist Wouter Mol retained the overall lead.

Soccer: Prevented from bargaining face to face because of snow in New York, Major League Soccer and its players agreed to extend labor talks through Feb. 25 in an effort to avoid a work stoppage.

NEWS SERVICES