What Does the Phrase “Under the Wire” Mean and Where Did the Expression Originate?

To make it “under the wire” means another instant and you’d have been too late.

Before modern electronics, stewards posted at the finish line determined the winners of horse races.

A reference wire was strung across the track above the finish line to help them see the order of finish, or which nose crossed the line first.

The result of a horse race was determined by the order in which the horses passed under the wire.