Down the Stretch with Sherlene Shanklin: With the 140th Kentucky Derby just around the corner the first weekend in May is beginning to shape up when it comes to events surrounded by the fastest two minutes in sports. One group is bringing faith and fellowship. For the second year “Grace at The Race” will bring some of the biggest stars in Christian and Gospel music. These artists have collectively won every major award from Grammys, Stellar and Dove awards. Even one of our guests recently won a total of seven Stellar Awards in January of this year. Grace at The Race welcomes to the city of Louisville a pioneer in bridging the gap between gospel, hip-hop, pop and R & B. He’s a singer, songwriter and host of popular gospel competition show. Kirk Franklin and the Family will perform at this year’s event. Joining Franklin is the “Queen of Christian Pop” singer, songwriter Amy Grant. She’s sold over 30 million albums worldwide. To complete the lineup is the Gospel artist who won Artist of the Year at the Stellar Awards in the 2nd week in January. Actress and singer Tamela Mann will perform at this year’s event. “The Hardest Working Man in Radio”, Tom Joyner will be the emcee for the evening. Grace at The Race is an annual Pre-Derby event that will honor three individuals from the corporate, sports and entertainment sectors for their commitment and contributions to community service and raises funds for local and national non-profit organizations that have a focus on at risk children. Kirk Franklin is a nine time Grammy award winner, 40 Stellar awards, winning 2013 Song of the year for “Take Me to the King” featuring Tamela Mann. He’s also won 16 Dove Awards, eight NAACP Image Awards and an American Music Award to name a few of his many honors. Franklin and the Family were asked by the South African Government to perform at Nelson Mandela’s memorial where some 90,000 people attended including U.S. President Barack Obama, world leaders, royalty and celebrities. Franklin is also the host and executive producer of the gospel talent show Sunday Best aired on Black Entertainment Television, (BET). It’s the highest rated gospel program in BET network history as it heads into its fourth season. Amy Grant is a contemporary Christian artist that has top hits like “Baby Baby”, “Every Heartbeat”. “That’s What Love Is For”, “Lucky One” and “Next Time I Fall” just to name a few. Grant is a 2006 Walk of Fame in Hollywood inductee and 2003 inductee into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame has won 26 Dove Awards which includes winning artist of the year four times. Grant is also a six-time Grammy award winner. The singer, songwriter is known fondly as “The Queen of Christian Pop” is currently on tour promoting her latest album “How Mercy Looks from Here”. Tamela Mann began her career as a singer with Kirk Franklin and the family and went solo in 2005. Mann is an actress and gospel artist that you can see in many of Tyler Perry’s stage plays, television show and movies. From playing Cora on “Meet the Browns”, “I Can Do Bad All by Myself”, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” and “Madea’s Family Reunion”. The Dove and NAACP Image Award winner attended the 29th Annual Stellar Awards where she was nominated for 10 awards and she walked away with seven, which included “Artist of the Year”, “Female Vocalist of the Year” and “CD of the Year for Best Days”. “Grace at The Race” will be held on Thursday, May 1st at the Galt House for dinner from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. followed by a concert featuring Kirk Franklin and the Family, Amy Grant and Tamela Mann and emceed by Charla Young at 8:00 p.m. If you would like to have dinner prior to the concert, there will be a “Grace at The Race” dinner which includes a concert ticket. For both events tickets are $150.00. During the dinner local gospel artist Cynthia Williams will be featured. If you would like to just attend the concert you purchase single tickets for $77.00. For group sales call 502-417-1624. For additional information on “Grace at The Race”, please visit www.graceattherace.com. If you have a story ideas send it to The411@whas11.com as I begin my “Down the Stretch” blog which will be all things Kentucky Derby. You can also follow me on Twitter @Sherlenemediapr as I announce events real-time.