In Reply to: They got in just under the wire - further thoughts posted by Hartley Alsgaard on April 01, 2009 at 22:07:
: Original posts by Baceseras and others in Oct, 07.
: I used the phrase today, and hence pondered its origin. Came to hypothesis that it probably related to racing, but envisioned remote bookie joints that received race results by wire, including a wire that announced the start of the race. One who got their bet in at the last minute would have gotten in "Under the wire." No sources, pure conjecture.
I just asked a horse person who just happened to pass by. There used to be an actual wire. Now close races are subject to photo finish in which the photo "may be triggered by a laser or photovoltaic means." Quote from Wikipedia.
DOWN TO THE WIRE -- It is a horse racing term. "...'wire' is synonymous with the finish line in horse racing, because of the wire stretched across the track that the horses passed under at the end of a race." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).